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Old 01-11-2016, 11:29 PM   #1
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Camping question

During the spring, summer, and fall we are hoping to just be able to get in the RV and go, maybe making reservations somewhere a week to a few days in advance or just finding someplace on the spur of the moment. Is this even possible anymore? I'm retiring next week and really don't want to make plans way ahead of time.
mransford, California
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:48 PM   #2
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We have been full time for almost 3 years and rarely make reservations. We find 2 to 4 options to stay in our target destination area. Then I call and see if they have a spot available for us when we are about 30-50 miles out. If they say yes we roll in, if no we call the next place. We always find something, but it has not been an rv park everytime. Sometimes we have had to drive a little farther.
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Old 01-12-2016, 01:13 AM   #3
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California.....State Parks----usually reserved & full up on weekends (F-S)
During the week usually wide open

RV Parks.......depends on location and time of year
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:15 AM   #4
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There are times during the camping season where you MUST make reservations at the earilest possible moment (IE: July 4, Sept 1)

Most of the time you can make your reservation as you pull off the freeway on the way to the park (or at the gate) and you will be OK.

For better times check out one of the Membership Camping sites like Thousand Trails... Though you may (or not) want to stay at one of their parks,, They do tell you when reservations are an absolute MUST.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:31 PM   #5
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A lot depends on where you go. If your headed to Florida during snow bird season you will most like need reservation well in advance. Most of the time spur of the moment camping is very doable, especially during the week. Week ends with good weather might require a week in advance reservation.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:40 PM   #6
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I have never made reservations for a campground in my life. Last summer we were headed to Colorado for a week or so. The first campground I wanted to stay at (without a reservation) was full. About 100 miles down the road was another state park that I had called and they had a space available. Get closer to Colorado where I was meeting a long lost shipmate and had a reservation that he made. I got there a day early and that campground was full. I found another rv park nearby that was both expensive and crowded.

So later last fall wife decides she wants to go to Texas for a few days. I am a disabled veteran so I have one of those passes that gets me into national parks and such free and discounts on activities and camping in those type of vacilities. I made a reservation online for a corps of engineering campground outside of Temple Texas and probably would not have needed it as we arrived on a Wednesday and left Saturday. So I have learned that if it really matters and you want a specific spot reserve it. It you are willing to suffer the occasional no room at the inn and have to find alternatives then don;t make reservations.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:50 PM   #7
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As stated, it all depends where you want to go. If you enjoy national forest campground or can use state parks during the week and have another option (boondocking) on the weekend, it can work very well. We rarely made reservations during our 16 years of full-timing and traveling constantly. But then, we don't go to RV parks, we enjoy natural surroundings and we don't need hookups.
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Old 01-12-2016, 01:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mransford View Post
During the spring, summer, and fall we are hoping to just be able to get in the RV and go, maybe making reservations somewhere a week to a few days in advance or just finding someplace on the spur of the moment. Is this even possible anymore? I'm retiring next week and really don't want to make plans way ahead of time.
mransford, California
Anywhere along the coast in California is not very easy to do anymore, in fact you can not even make reservations less than a year in advance at some locations. The months you are talking about are the same months everyone else is trying to go places and it is not an easy thing anymore unless you go places no body else wants to visit and I am finding that even those locations are getting crowded. We do not like RV parks and we prefer to find locations with no hook ups and people.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:32 PM   #9
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Congrats on retiring. You can camp in the middle of the desert at anytime, but anywhere that is popular will take some planning. The RV industry is booming again and getting a spot is getting tough.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:39 PM   #10
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There is always room at Walmart! We too phone campgounds when we are about an hour or two out. Walmart is our saftey valve. Exception is on big holidays or special events. Then we reserve in advance.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:50 PM   #11
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Camping question

You are doing what I did for the first two years of my retirement, about three years ago.

As someone said, we usually knew what our destination area would be, and I usually took the night before leaving for the next leg of the trip to find out where I'd stop for gas along the way, and what places looked good for the next place to stay. If I had time, I may call a day or so early to reserve something, but not always.

After getting back home, I made the mistake of calling my old company to see how things were going. They asked me to take a contract and come back to work for a few months, and made it worth my while to do so. After three weeks, they asked me to take over.... Not that stupid, 18 month contract, then gone again.

This time I am going another route. I have been accepted to be a Camp Host at a ACOE park in the south, where it is warm. I am going to stay as long as I want, with a schedule of three days on, six days off.

Good luck, and happy trails to you!


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Old 01-12-2016, 06:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mransford View Post
During the spring, summer, and fall we are hoping to just be able to get in the RV and go, maybe making reservations somewhere a week to a few days in advance or just finding someplace on the spur of the moment. Is this even possible anymore? I'm retiring next week and really don't want to make plans way ahead of time.
mransford, California
Congrats on your retirement. I retired in May of 2013 and while waiting for the wife to retire (teachers aid) we traveled across country for a month during the height of the summer season (July/August) for the last three years. I made reservations six months out for all my stays and spaced the stops out so I had time for sightseeing along the way. With that said outside of the tourist destinations, i.e. Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and a few other locations, every place else had vacancies. So the answer is Yes you can make reservations on the spur of the moment but you might not get to stay where you really wanted to. The best suggestion is a mix of both where you make reservations for the must see/stay locations and the rest is up to where the wind takes you.
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Old 01-13-2016, 08:21 AM   #13
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I love planning our trips, which includes making advanced reservations. I enjoy it so much the DW claims I'm borderline OCD with trip planning.

With that being said, I still go off the cuff every now and again. And it can be done (aside from popular holiday weekends), though as many have mentioned, your options may be a bit whittled down.

Most commercial/private CG's (KOA's, Good Sam, etc.) will be available if not at tourist destinations. In my experience, most state parks are available during the week, but not so much on weekends. For example, the Emerald Coast state parks book up on weekends 11 months in advance.

Also be aware that there are some NPS campgrounds that require paid reservations (meaning, the park rangers won't even take cash payment at the park). My parents learned this one the hard way a few years ago at a local recreation area.
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Old 01-13-2016, 12:37 PM   #14
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With our 40' MH we got into many of the popular national parks without reservations such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton. They even have campgrounds that don't accept any reservations.

As far as holidays, we chose places that had absolutely nothing to do with water such as pools, lakes and rivers. That's where the vacationers go. There are plenty of other nice places otherwise. National forest campgrounds are our favorite along with boondocking on national forest or BLM lands.

We really had no problems traveling without reservations.
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