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Old 03-06-2014, 02:36 PM   #1
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Location: Kelowna, British Columbia
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USA State Parks

Hi, Last summer I went to the Oregon coast in Sept.Didn't reserve spots thinking in Sep the summer rush would be over.I got a little further down than Sea Side and got there on a Tue. I got a spot for 2 days ,thinking I would go further down the coast on Fri to another spot.Now after talking to the camp hosts,I discovered that the camp ground I was in, was all booked up from Fri. until Tue of the next week.So I found a McDonalds and started going on line to check out state parks further down the coast ,to find that everyone was booked up until Tue.I looked at a few private ones and they didn't look very inviting.So I had to leave ,I headed back up the coast to Washington and got a spot for one night there and then had to head home the next day.

So my question is for those with experience with US State Parks in other areas away from the coast ,or in Arizona,Nevada,Texas,Are those parks always booked up and do you have to make reservations to get a spot.

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Old 03-06-2014, 02:45 PM   #2
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We head out camping as soon as kids are back in school. Takes a load off the campgrounds.

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Old 03-06-2014, 03:05 PM   #3
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For the most part, our vacations must be taken in summer when schools are out, and I must normally give my employer as much notice as possible about when I will be taking vacation time. Given that summer is busiest time of year for most state/provincial parks, and the limited flexibility we have regarding vacation dates, we almost always plan ahead and book campgrounds in advance whenever possible. Although it does reduce flexibility, it does guarantee that we will be able to stay where we want for as long as we want. Once our last youngun is done school our options will increase as to when we can vacation, and we very well may choose to "travel on a whim", taking our chances and not pre-booking.

I should also add that when we are going to locations where we have never been before or are unfamiliar with the area, we prefer to not take any chances regarding campground availability and will normally pre-book. When staying in old familiar surroundings, we are much more likely to take chances, as we may have much better idea as to what the options are if we cannot get into the campgrounds we want to be at.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:13 PM   #4
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been reading about state and national parks in Washington state. some parks are non-reservable, first come first served.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:18 PM   #5
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Around here most State Parks in popular areas and near the beach are filled at least Fri through Sunday off season and pretty much solid in the summer, many have 2 or 7 day minimums in season too. Many have some dedicated spots that are walk in only but those may well be gone on Thursday for the weekend.
During the summer you can usually find a site at less popular interior campgrounds mid week.

We don't have boondocking so that's not an option.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:20 PM   #6
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We booked kalaloch on the olympic penisula for july last month and it was almost full . We also must use the busy summer months due to school so we have been using reservations and planning ahead to make sure we have spots.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:14 PM   #7
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Here in Pennsylvania, most SP are reserved almost every weekend, several have openings during the week. Also the hookups are first to go, you may find some weekend spots for tenters without hook ups, try changing your parameters.
Never in doubt, often wrong.....
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Here in Pennsylvania, most SP are reserved almost every weekend, several have openings during the week. Also the hookups are first to go, you may find some weekend spots for tenters without hook ups, try changing your parameters.
U.S. National Forest campgrounds can be a life saver. Most don't take reservations. Last summer we thought we'd be staying in Capital Reef National Park on Memorial Day weekend. Big mistake. However, found a great NF campground about 20 miles away overlooking the National Park and hardly anyone there until well into the weekend. In addition, there were two more NF campgrounds just up the road from ours.
Neal & Sharon

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
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Old 03-07-2014, 12:49 AM   #9
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Down here in southern California / central coast the state parks along the coast are booked solid every weekend all year long. The question is not if you need a reservation, but, how far in advance you need to get it. During the summer, the same is generally true of weekdays as well. California state parks are also pretty much the highest price option for camping (not counting the high end RV resorts) with a minimum of $35 per night for dry camping. Only a few state parks here have hookups, and when they do, they are all reserved within days of the six month reservation window and are priced even higher than the standard campsites.

As previously mentioned, Forest Service campgrounds are much more likely to be available, even when they take reservations.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:11 AM   #10
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Here in the Florida panhandle the state parks seem to have plenty of available camping sites once school starts.

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