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More campers than parks

Lightning55
Explorer
Explorer
This year we have only been out in the 5th wheel 2-3 times because we can't find any places to go that haven't been sold out on the weekends. Northern CA State parks, especially on or near the coast seem to be booked solid, even this late in the year. Going east into the foothills or Sierras isn't much better.
I'd be money ahead if I rented an RV a few times a year than making a huge investment in an RV that we can't use.
Sorry for the rant but it's frustrating to watch the tires go flat on the trailer from sitting in the storage lot month after month. Is this a problem all over or just in Northern CA?
91 REPLIES 91

mdcamping
Explorer
Explorer
Airdaile wrote:
Instead, why not look at the reviews on campgroundreviews.com and get the comments from hundreds of people who have been to thousands of campgrounds you've never been to?


IMO this is why they our my first choice... they do a good job on how the web site is set up, 1 click on the reviewers profile and you have all the history of the reviewer which makes it a useful tool, plus combined that with all the reviews in their data base! (close to 400K)

Not saying they are the only place to go as I also use trip adviser & google reviews if I am not finding the info I need.

Mike
2022 F-150 3.5 EcoBoost 4X4 Supercrew GCWR 19,500 157WB
Payload 2476 Maxtow 13,800 3.73 Equalizer 4 Pt Sway Hitch
2017 Jayco Jay Flight 24RBS
Old TV, 07 Toyota Tacoma, Double Cab, Factory Tow Pkg, retired towing at 229K. (Son now owns truck)

ppine
Explorer II
Explorer II
Try looking outside of parks.

Airdaile
Explorer
Explorer
garmp wrote:
On own last trip, 3 weeks long, we had to alter our plans several times due to sold out conditions. First off, one of our practices is to visit parks, places we haven't been to before and hate to make reservations at a new park based on a 2x2" pic (if even available) on the internet.


Ok, so you're looking at an area on RVParky or Allstays and there are 20 parks within a 20 mile radius of where you want to go, and you only call the one(s) you've actually been to? Yeah, I guess you would have to alter your plans several times.

Instead, why not look at the reviews on campgroundreviews.com and get the comments from hundreds of people who have been to thousands of campgrounds you've never been to?

colliehauler
Explorer II
Explorer II
The more picky you are about what campground is acceptable the more you limit your choices. Example, I prefer a lakefront site so that would limit my choices.

The more flexible you are the more opportunities are available

toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
pnichols wrote:
Maybe some "definitions" are in order at this point?

i.e.:

1. What is a Mobile Home park?
2. What is a Recreational Vehicle park?
3. What is a Campground?

IMHO, 1. and 2. appear to be getting really mixed up lately whenever we're out and about for recreation in our Recreational Vehicle - whether it be weekends or during the week.

I know it's probably expensive to have signs repainted ... but it sure would be helpful to us if many of the "RV Parks" would change their signage to read "Mobile Home Park" so that we would not waste our time pulling in to register for a night or two or three, only to be frustrated with no sites available. 🙂


I have always tried to differentiate between RV parks and campgrounds.

Many of the comments here have been about RV Parks and that it is difficult to get a spot because of longterm residents taking them up.

That is a different problem than the OP's. The OP is trying to get into a state park campground which is short term only.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

garmp
Explorer II
Explorer II
On own last trip, 3 weeks long, we had to alter our plans several times due to sold out conditions. First off, one of our practices is to visit parks, places we haven't been to before and hate to make reservations at a new park based on a 2x2" pic (if even available) on the internet. Been burned enough times with bad sights to know better. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet an get a KOA or other private parking lot style campground to tide you through the weekend.
We have found several great parks, what we call WDOS parks (Week Days Off Season) that are killer, but would be tragic on in-season weekends.

As we say the problem is that there far too many retired baby boomers with RV's flitting about from park to park (like us) and taking up all the campsites.
OH well, at least we can get out!!!
Our 2351D Phoenix Cruiser, Jack, has turned us from campers into RVers and loving it!

Airdaile
Explorer
Explorer
redhooker wrote:
When we travel we refuse to stay at any park that has sheds, portable carport tents, or piles of junk at campsites. By voting with our money we support quality parks that cater to true vacationers. Plenty of people we speak to in our travels are starting to do the same.


A lot of people are dead set against KOA, but this is what they provide. You do pay a premium for this type of park.

redhooker
Explorer
Explorer
We are x-full timers that now travel quite a bit. There are some very valid points being brought up here. And as former FTers I must admit the monthly long term rentals have ruined many parks. Parks that used to be beautiful places to visit have turned into dilapidated trailer parks with rotting trailers parked next to $500,000 diesel pushers.

When we travel we refuse to stay at any park that has sheds, portable carport tents, or piles of junk at campsites. By voting with our money we support quality parks that cater to true vacationers. Plenty of people we speak to in our travels are starting to do the same.

Also, I would like to mention in our state (Florida), the state parks only allow about half of the sites to be reserved. The rest are “walk up sites”. This allows you to still get spontaneous and take short trips without notice. If you arrive Monday through Thursday you are pretty much going to get a site at almost 100% of our state parks. I believe many other states do the same. We just call the office before we leave the house to confirm they have plenty of walk ups available. We have stayed at Gamble Rodgers, Bahia Honda, and many other “unobtainable” parks just like this.

spoon059
Explorer II
Explorer II
gbopp wrote:
Lightning55 wrote:
Boondocking... you mean no AC? no flat screen TV with 235 stations? No electric blanket? OMG

Remember when people went camping to get away from it all? :B

I camp to get away from "most", not "all"! We're RVing after all, not backpacking! I still need climate control, I don't sleep well when hot or muggy. My dad likes to remind me how much I would have benefited from a couple years in the infantry, like he did. I'm sure he's right, but I'm happy to be ignorant!!!

OP, when the economy is strong people have disposable income and like to camp. Wait for gas prices to spike, the stock market to collapse or something else happen to drive up costs... then you'll find plenty of open camp sites.
2015 Ram CTD
2015 Jayco 29QBS

2oldman
Explorer II
Explorer II
covered wagon wrote:
I only camp where there is almost no one around. If the place needs a reservation then I don't want to go there. Some folks are so obnoxious or some plain old rude that I've learned to stay away.
True.. when you book, you're stuck with whatever neighbors you get. And you've paid for it.

The worst are groups.. people travelling together. Usually noisy as hell.
"If I'm wearing long pants, I'm too far north" - 2oldman

covered_wagon
Explorer
Explorer
I only camp where there is almost no one around. If the place needs a reservation then I don't want to go there. Some folks are so obnoxious or some plane old rude that I've learned to stay away.

starhunt
Explorer
Explorer
besides booking what I hate is the too much noise I get. The downside of booking too much early is what if I can't make it. Usually I book 3 weeks before just to be sure I do not have anything to do for work..but now huhuhu

Pirate1
Explorer
Explorer
Donna Jean wrote:
this thread makes me very scared of what is ahead for my husband and I. we are putting our home up for sale in the spring and plan to buy a DP and live full time for 6 months or longer before relocating from MI to TN. Since we will not be able to start this adventure before we sell our house we have no idea on when it will start so trying to book far in advance is going to be a big problem. Our hope is to be on the road by August and spend time first in CO then move on to UT. I hope we are not homeless with a MH and no where to park it
Why are you leaving MI?

smarty
Explorer II
Explorer II
IB853347201 wrote:
We have never had an issue camping on weekends, even in the busiest states and tourist destinations.
Reservations in advance work every time.
We've already booked most of next July and August.
If you're intent on winging it, you'll likely continue to be disappointed....


You need to head north. Never a problem with campgrounds being full in the northern lower and the UP, particularly the UP