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Old 12-09-2015, 07:46 AM   #1
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Question about hard to get rv park sites

There are some state campgrounds here in Florida (on the beach) that I would love to go to but some are booked until next fall for a stay of any length at all. What do these campgrounds do when someone with reservations do not show up. Are they made available.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:14 AM   #2
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Howdy olustee_bus, I'm not sure how reservations work in Florida. I can tell you that many sites here in the west use ReserveAmerica. I am not a fan of the system. No, reserved sites are never released - at least not out here.

<BEGIN RANT>
Many sites have rules that really stink. Like, you can stay one night only at reserve-able site that is not reserved - doesn't matter that it is not reserved for the 2nd, 3rd, etc. nights - won't even go on a day by day basis - one night and then MUST move. Some places have killer deals on annual passes and the people with them reserve spots and then never show up. I've seen campgrounds with dozens of empty sites but they show as "reserved". ReserveAmerica requires you to make a reservation that starts no sooner than three days out. I understand why but this is hugely inconvenient - particulary based on the previously mentioned one-night rule. Obviously, the first come, first serve approach has some issues (I like knowing that I will have a spot) but the current system needs to evolve.
<END RANT>
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:33 AM   #3
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Usually we take many 14 to 18 day vacations to mostly state parks. I may single out 2-3 state parks I want to go to and try to reserve one of my favorite sites, which might be a lake front, river front or just super nice. I'll do this 6 or more months out. It's tough at times....One of my favorites might have been taken even 6 or 8 months out, so I'll rearrange the trip so I get that site maybe 3-4 days later.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:54 AM   #4
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Popular things get booked early. Try and find out when the reservations for the next year (at this case, 2017) open up and book the moment they start in the morning.

As for ReserveAmerica, I really hate not being able to make reservations less than three days out. Sometimes I see a place I want to stop but have to wait until I get there to find out if a site will be available. I used to travel for a living, and that violates rule #1 - always have a place to sleep arranged before you're tired.
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:29 PM   #5
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The ones you mention in Florida are really difficult. We tried when they opened reservations last year to book and the entire campground filled, while we were discussing sites and I am talking minutes here, not hours.

Here is what one of the work-campers in the Florida system told us. If you are already staying in the campground and walk up to the window, they will let you book ahead of the official opening date, if there is an opening in the campground. Also, since you are limited to two weeks, if you then call in using a different cell phone, you can book another two weeks. The system tracks based on cell phone numbers so as far as the system is concerned, you are two different people. What we were told is there are ways to beat the system and a good many folks take advantage of holes in it. We have not tried any of this as we do not like the idea of gaming the system. This information is just what we were told.

In the end, we just made up our minds to reserve way in advance as getting into places where we really would like to stay is getting tougher and tougher. Last year we purposely bought a short fifth wheel because the real battle is for the longer sites in campgrounds. Doing that, we booked just a few weeks in advance and found spaces throughout the Florida system.

We are longer this year and booked our winter months the first week in March last year though even in the campground where we are staying, if you are already staying there, you can book further ahead of their window. In addition, they don't show all their openings so when I called, even though their site showed no openings in February, booking all of January magically made February available.

As in everything else, there are written rules and then there is the way things really work.

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Old 12-09-2015, 08:44 PM   #6
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:37 PM   #7
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Mr. Fixit, that's the way reserveamerica worked in Indiana too. Indiana got fed up with their shenanigans and dropped them this year. Next year IDNR will operate their own reservation system.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:26 PM   #8
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That's interesting. It would be nice if there was a level playing field.

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Old 12-10-2015, 07:26 AM   #9
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I was just visiting my son, who was staying for 4 nights at Gamble Rogers SRA on Flagler Beach. Talked to one of the Ranger Ricks about the outsourced Reserve America system and told him that I sure wish they would take reservations themselves, because I have no idea where I am going to be 11 months ahead of time. He told me they do not have the funds to hire personnel to answer the phone. This idiotic reservation system has pretty much destroyed any idea I had about staying in state parks throughout the country.
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:05 AM   #10
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We stayed in Florida State campgrounds for Jan and Feb for years, I mean years like 40+. Now we started using private CG's simply because I know we always stay Jan and Feb and I don't need to roll the dice for a site. I've tried the 11 month ahead of time thing and it seems to be getting harder and harder to juggle the dates, yes there are ways to extend your 2 week limit, and they will tell you when you have worn out your welcome . One thing that confuses me is that every Florida state park has millions of acres and only a few campsites. Florida in the winter is getting harder and harder to find a site why doesn't the State Parks System expand/add more sites, they could and would fill them. We really loved staying at the Florida State Campsites. AMEN
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:08 AM   #11
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This idiotic reservation system has pretty much destroyed any idea I had about staying in state parks throughout the country.
It's been a while since we used the Florida state parks but honestly, we've had no problems getting sites without reservations in other state parks with our 40' motorhome, however recently, west of the Mississippi. Don't give up on state parks!
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:12 PM   #12
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Main problem arises because of the ability to book sites with such a low downpayment that there is no incentive for people to advise they won't need them. Not ever going to change unless it is changed to 50% down and balance 14 days prior and commercial rates of cancellation fees.

There is always Walmart campground in an emergency.
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Old 12-10-2015, 06:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJr View Post
We stayed in Florida State campgrounds for Jan and Feb for years, I mean years like 40+. Now we started using private CG's simply because I know we always stay Jan and Feb and I don't need to roll the dice for a site. I've tried the 11 month ahead of time thing and it seems to be getting harder and harder to juggle the dates, yes there are ways to extend your 2 week limit, and they will tell you when you have worn out your welcome . One thing that confuses me is that every Florida state park has millions of acres and only a few campsites. Florida in the winter is getting harder and harder to find a site why doesn't the State Parks System expand/add more sites, they could and would fill them. We really loved staying at the Florida State Campsites. AMEN
The State Parks do not exist simple for camping. They provide many other recreation opportunities not to mention some are protecting a species and or habitat.
If we just put in all the sires a park can hold then aren't they just becoming a bonafide
Mobile home park???
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Old 12-10-2015, 07:57 PM   #14
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Main problem arises because of the ability to book sites with such a low downpayment that there is no incentive for people to advise they won't need them. Not ever going to change unless it is changed to 50% down and balance 14 days prior and commercial rates of cancellation fees.

There is always Walmart campground in an emergency.
When we camp is state parks they require the entire amount upfront. Where do they just charge a down payment?

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