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Old 06-15-2014, 06:40 PM   #1
Ford Super Duty Owner
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Late Night Check In Question

Getting ready for first major cross country trip. Going from Virginia to South Dakota. With stopping in the WI Dells for Daughters birthday.

Question with regards to campground check in late at night.

Not sure how far will make first night and wanted to know if there is any advise on how to make reservations or how late can you check in to camp grounds?

Any advise welcome.
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:34 PM   #2
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Most Campsites/RV parks have a late check in procedure - its best to call them before 5 pm, as they will tell you what to do. We have done cross country trips like this and never had a problem - some of them will actually have a "Late Check in" Kiosk, with a site map with your name on it and directions to your site, wifi password, cable channels, etc.
definitely call if the park is one with mostly permanent or season long residents - they may not be set up to deal with late arrivals.

if you miss one though, there is always Wall mart parking lots, rest areas, and truck stops - if it is just a stop for the night.

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Old 06-16-2014, 07:20 AM   #3
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Each campground will have it's own requirements and procedures, especially those located for convenient "just off the highway" overnight stays. I highly recommend you call ahead and give them prior notice, however. Even if you could get into the park and find a space without prior notice to management, you might be mistaken for someone just trying to "steal" a site for the night and be welcomed with a knock on the door, greeted by a nice man with a badge.

Another point, how late is late? When still working, with limited vacation time, we might have stopped as late as 10 PM local time, but would you want someone pulling into the site next to you and waking you at 1 AM?
Jay and Peggy Monroe
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Old 06-16-2014, 07:43 AM   #4
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If it's any later than 9PM, we usually pull into a Walmart. (get the All Stays app for your smart phone).

It's not only the check in procedure, but getting into the site in the dark, hooking up all the connections, dropping the jacks, squealing slide outs, and getting everyone settled that could be disturbing to your neighbors.
Tom and Katharine
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:28 AM   #5
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Every campground has it's own rules about late check-in. Some of them will post a list of available sites on a bulletin board outside the office.

As others have said, if you are in a MH with a generator then a local Wal-Mart or other parking lot might be a good choice.

Since you don't know how far you will get, you can't really call ahead to check on the campground rules.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette
Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits.....
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:59 AM   #6
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I've also wondered the same thing. With working out of town every other week, when we do go somewhere, we're not able to leave until around 3pm. Any lengthy of a trip makes it where if I stop to check in by 9pm ( I think later than this is too late ) I'll only be 6 hours down the road.....if I'm lucky ( loading up a wife, 11 month old, groceries and a 10 year old cat takes more time than I like. I'm usually good for driving around 10-12 hours ( I'm still a young pup, and used to driving long distances ) so for us, our stays have never been just an over nighter at a RV park. I've stayed in Wal-Mart parking lots. Pulling in at 2am, the parking lot is empty, minus another RV SOMETIMES and a few trucks, so no one to upset while running the gen. I've only done one late check in, just this last week on a family vacation. Left home base at 10:30am, checked in at Fall Creek Falls Tennessee at 12:30am. Their instructions were to back in, set up and check in at the parks office the following morning.

I wouldn't of chose to check in this late, but mother-in-law needed us to make an unscheduled stop at Wal-Mart for more food, and hitting rush hour AND road construction in both Memphis and Nashville was riiiiiidonkculous!!!!! What was supposed to be 10 hours, turned into 14.
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:21 AM   #7
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If it's an overnight and I am going to arrive after 9:00pm I just find a place to park (rest area, Walmart, even a quiet side street) because I've found people are pretty snarky about the noise at night (and inevitably we'll get a space that requires some maneuvering to get into).

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Old 06-17-2014, 11:31 AM   #8
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most of the parks I have been in have a notice if you arrive after hours just find and empty site and use it then check in the next morning with the office. I would check the bulletin board at the office. Again most of the parks I have been in have a procedure if you have a site and are coming in after the office closes. The office posts your name and site on the bulletin board. If you arrive without a reservation check that bulletin board to make sure you are not taking the site of someone that is checking in late with a reservation. I have been to state camp grounds where a ranger knocks on your door at a reasonable hour to see if you have checked in but never had any problems when I tell them got in late and just have not been down to check in yet.
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