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Old 07-11-2020, 11:53 PM   #1
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Camp Sites....all booked

Itís been years since we had our old Dutchman trailer and longer than that tent camping. We are beginning to see that things are different now. Just about all State Parks sites are taken in advance. At least the ones with electric. You can get sites without hook ups and we may learn to do that. The new 19 is rigged for solar, but we didnít get the full solar package. So for now I guess we will live with propane and lanterns and flashlights. Iím wondering, how far in advance do you weekend warriors book your campground sites? At Minnesota State Parks you can book up to a year in advance.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:08 AM   #2
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If I need a site at a specific park on a weekend, I book it as far ahead as I can. It would be interesting to know how many of these months in advance bookings get cancelled. Sure would be nice if states would increase campsites to match or exceed demand. I'll bet the ones in MA haven't changed since the 50's or 60's.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:20 AM   #3
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I agree! I have been on a one man bandwagon to try and get the State of Colorado to open more campgrounds. No matter how many we have, it's not enough.

I did watch the reservation system closely this year since we are new to RVs too. Most of the reservations I booked and continue to book are available from that miserable site, Recreation.gov.

There were lots of weeks that were available up until the end of May then it all started to fill up. For most campgrounds you can make reservations thru the end of the season of this year. I just booked a number of campsites for a run thru Utah we are going to do this Fall. There's not much left now. I am going to lay out our season's itinerary for next year and book the important ones right away next year.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:23 AM   #4
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Itís been years since we had our old Dutchman trailer and longer than that tent camping. We are beginning to see that things are different now. Just about all State Parks sites are taken in advance. At least the ones with electric. You can get sites without hook ups and we may learn to do that. The new 19 is rigged for solar, but we didnít get the full solar package. So for now I guess we will live with propane and lanterns and flashlights. Iím wondering, how far in advance do you weekend warriors book your campground sites? At Minnesota State Parks you can book up to a year in advance.
All your lights are 12 volt LEDs, you should have no problems with lights running off of the battery.

Many/most campground have a percentage of first come first serve / walk in sites. So typically if you arrive at a campground Sunday-Wednesday those sites will be available. We did one and a half month road trip to Yellowstone in 2018, the only reservation we had was for the two weeks at Yellowstone. We did a two month road trip to Yosemite in 2019 and had ZERO reservations. We just avoided needing to get a campsite Thursday thru Saturday. Occasionally we had to go to a near by campground that happened at Arches National Park where there are BLM campsite right outside the park along the river.

We do have an inverter generator.

We can add fresh water to our tanks, and black water is never a limiting factor.

So do the following to reduce our grey water accumulation. We use campground showers when available. We line our plates and bowls with thin paper plates/bowls to reduce on dishes. We have plastic tubs that fit in our RV's sink we wash and rinse in those, and then dump them into a 5 gallon bucket and take them to the campground's nearby grey water sink/drain daily. That way we can go 9+ days without hookups.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:37 AM   #5
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Please update your avatar Voyager, it helps to know what trailer you own when answering your questions. If your Escape is in production try to add solar otherwise a portable panel will allow you to camp just about anywhere without hookups.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:42 AM   #6
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In many states including Minnesota all campsites in State Parks require a reservation before you can occupying any campsite .
We were planning a short trip next week and every campsite ( State & County) between here and our destination was already booked
We have no one to blame for this situation but ourselves . Disguised as reining in governments we has slashed funding for parks and in many cases made them be self funding . Reservation fees represent income for the parks .
Parks can’t afford to leave sites open hoping someone might show up
The State and Local parks can’t maintain their current infrastructure so expanding the number of sites is a pipe dream IMHO
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:52 AM   #7
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I mostly agree Steve. We are in an untenable situation presently. TTmartin brings up some good points. I have almost always found a way around the reservation system. There are plenty of tricks you can use that are fully legitimate.

It's worth saying again, the national recreation areas feature dispersed camping, first come first served basis, lax rules and really great scenery. Green River Lakes in Wyoming is a prime example. Drive up and camp.

I was there in May, I was all alone. I slept in the car since I was on my way to get the trailer and got up at 4 am to make coffee and go. I set up the coffee on the back of the tailgate when something started growling / panting at me, just 30 feet away. Completely dark. I just left. There are plenty of wild places out there to visit.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:12 AM   #8
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Camp Sites....all booked

In Texas, most state parks fill up on weekends with reservations months in advance. We can always get campsites Sunday through Thursday. Iíve also noticed state parks closer to major metro areas book up faster than those more remote. We are headed out tomorrow for 10 days to the Waco area. We have reservations at three different COE campgrounds with water/electric (electricity for a/c is required in Texas in July!) and I made the reservations two weeks ago. BTW, I really like the new Recreation.gov iPad app.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:22 AM   #9
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Please update your avatar Voyager, it helps to know what trailer you own when answering your questions. If your Escape is in production try to add solar otherwise a portable panel will allow you to camp just about anywhere without hookups.

I will when I receive it and then take a picture of it
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:46 AM   #10
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In many states including Minnesota all campsites in State Parks require a reservation before you can occupying any campsite .
Correct, it is not clear if they still hold back a percentage of sites for 'same day reservations' which many campgrounds that 'require a reservation' before occupying do.

MN Same Day.JPG
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:52 AM   #11
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In Pennsylvania the state parks have certain sites "pet friendly" most of which are without facilities. Because of that position is one of the reasons we got our Escape with its self contained systems and solar. We do not need hook ups and that means there are always sites available as most people want at least electric and water.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:54 AM   #12
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At Minnesota State Parks you can book up to a year in advance.
There currently has been a change in Minnesota's reservation system. You can only book up to 120 days in advance.

Don't know if it is a permanent change, but it's certainly welcome. There are those who book a year in advance, forget about the booking or change their email, and never show up. Hopefully they go back to 50% booking too. The 100% booking, a year in advance, really doesn't work well. We see too many vacant campsites. We were at Jay Cooke the end of June, and despite being 100% full there were too many vacant spots. The ranger said it's gotten much worse over the years.

We need to go back to 50% full and can book only book 90 days in advance. I won't hold my breath though.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:02 AM   #13
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I have almost always found a way around the reservation system. There are plenty of tricks you can use that are fully legitimate.
Most campgrounds that have reservations will put tags on the site indicating that they are 'reserved' several days in advance. So you can often find a site that is reserved for just Saturday night. If you arrive earlier in the week, you can still occupy the site through Saturday morning.

The other way is show up at the campground near their checkout time. You will often find campsites that are vacated early, late cancellations, or second day no shows. That you can stay at until the next reservation.

90% of the time on our two month zero reservation trip to Yosemite, we were able to find a campsite at the campgrounds we intended. The other 8% of the time, we were able to find one close by. The other 2% we spent the day there, and then just 'camped' at a rest stop or Walmart, on our way to the next park.

This map shows both our 2018 and 2019 trips. Not every stop is displayed as we eventually decided we didn't need 10 minute 'bread crumbs' on our inReach. And after that I often forgot to 'check in' at some locations.

inReach tracking.JPG
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:43 AM   #14
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In many states including Minnesota all campsites in State Parks require a reservation before you can occupying any campsite .
We were planning a short trip next week and every campsite ( State & County) between here and our destination was already booked
We have no one to blame for this situation but ourselves . Disguised as reining in governments we has slashed funding for parks and in many cases made them be self funding . Reservation fees represent income for the parks .
Parks canít afford to leave sites open hoping someone might show up
The State and Local parks canít maintain their current infrastructure so expanding the number of sites is a pipe dream IMHO
I humbly disagree Steve. Depending on the government to fund park campgrounds is unsustainable. I don't want my neighbor who has absolutely no desire to camp anyplace to have to subsidize my camping. If a park needs more campsites because they are filling up they should have the necessary revenue from charging for those camp sites to build more sites. Simple law of supply and demand. Leave the government out of it.
Preserving blocks of land for public use such as BLM and National and State parks is a different issue. However, any development such as camp sites should be self sustainable.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:57 AM   #15
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I humbly disagree Steve. Depending on the government to fund park campgrounds is unsustainable. I don't want my neighbor who has absolutely no desire to camp anyplace to have to subsidize my camping. If a park needs more campsites because they are filling up they should have the necessary revenue from charging for those camp sites to build more sites. Simple law of supply and demand. Leave the government out of it.
Preserving blocks of land for public use such as BLM and National and State parks is a different issue. However, any development such as camp sites should be self sustainable.
When the camping fees and park stickers are supposed to fund the entire park system and all it’s services it’s a recipe for disaster . We have a 4 month camping season in Northern Wisconsin and to expect 16 weeks of camping to fund a park year round is a failed theory
I pay taxes for goods and services that do not directly benefit me SO WHAT !!
It’s part of living in a free society . I suppose I should / could object to paying for schools because my children are grown but I refuse to be that narrow minded
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:59 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
In many states including Minnesota all campsites in State Parks require a reservation before you can occupying any campsite .
We were planning a short trip next week and every campsite ( State & County) between here and our destination was already booked
We have no one to blame for this situation but ourselves . Disguised as reining in governments we has slashed funding for parks and in many cases made them be self funding . Reservation fees represent income for the parks .
Parks can’t afford to leave sites open hoping someone might show up
The State and Local parks can’t maintain their current infrastructure so expanding the number of sites is a pipe dream IMHO
Agree, "reservation fees represent income for the parks." I have no problem paying for a self-funding campsite.

Ten or so years ago if you were over 65 you could get a Minnesota campsite from Sunday-Thursday for half price. They experienced enough occupancy to justify the discount. The pressure on campgrounds has increased massively in the last 10 years and now only if you have a handicap placard can you get those 50% off discounts. I don't like it, but that's the price of keeping myself healthy.

Two years ago Whitewater State Park, 35 miles north of us, doubled the number of campsites. If a Minnesota State Park can justify and have the extra acreage, they can and will increase the number of campsites. Trouble is very few parks can handle the increased number of sites. Jay Cooke, Gooseberry, Itasca, etc. can be so full on weekends with campers and day users that you literally stumble over people "enjoying" the park.

For us, summer camping is rare. We like the other three seasons. Besides, except for the karst region of SE Minnesota, you have to put up with mosquitoes.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:18 AM   #17
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Most campgrounds that have reservations will put tags on the site indicating that they are 'reserved' several days in advance. So you can often find a site that is reserved for just Saturday night. If you arrive earlier in the week, you can still occupy the site through Saturday morning.


Attachment 48580
In Washington State parks, the practice varies, but they never put the tag up before the day of departure of the current "resident". And some don't put tags up but just a reserved flag with no date, or just have a list at the check in window that shows any available sites.

If someone has a reservation and does not show up by 1 PM the 2nd day it is canceled. When I'm going to be a day late (happens on occasion for longer trips) I call to let them know it is okay to let someone in the first night.

Washington also has a cancellation fee if you hold a reservation for many months and then cancel- up to 50% of the original fee for the night(s) you cancel. (Not applicable in the above as it was too late to cancel for any money back).

But every state is different and I wouldn't try to use state parks without reservations during peak season. I had no idea of this when I got my first trailer- the last time I'd camped it was a non-issue.

Likely to get much worse for awhile with the run on RVs. The dealer called friends of mine and offered to buy back their RV! He said he couldn't get enough inventory for the people who wanted to buy.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:29 AM   #18
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Agree, "reservation fees represent income for the parks." I have no problem paying for a self-funding campsite.

Ten or so years ago if you were over 65 you could get a Minnesota campsite from Sunday-Thursday for half price. They experienced enough occupancy to justify the discount. The pressure on campgrounds has increased massively in the last 10 years and now only if you have a handicap placard can you get those 50% off discounts. I don't like it, but that's the price of keeping myself healthy.

Two years ago Whitewater State Park, 35 miles north of us, doubled the number of campsites. If a Minnesota State Park can justify and have the extra acreage, they can and will increase the number of campsites. Trouble is very few parks can handle the increased number of sites. Jay Cooke, Gooseberry, Itasca, etc. can be so full on weekends with campers and day users that you literally stumble over people "enjoying" the park.

For us, summer camping is rare. We like the other three seasons. Besides, except for the karst region of SE Minnesota, you have to put up with mosquitoes.

Enjoy,

Perry
We spent 4 days at Whitewater SP with our daughters family
We plan on returning
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:39 AM   #19
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If you plan on traveling without reservations, be sure to check the current entrance requirements for campgrounds, particularly state & national parks. Many have changed their entrance & first come procedures because of Covid 19. Some have closed their on site payment procedures and require reservations and on line payments for all sites. Many have closed facilities in the campground & require self contained RVs.

While most have added updates to their web pages, the changes may take days or even weeks to get posted. Some 14 day quarantine requirements are a bit vague and were not written for those traveling across a state making overnight stops in a campground. Again, a call to the park may save much aggravation.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:58 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
Agree, "reservation fees represent income for the parks." I have no problem paying for a self-funding campsite.

Ten or so years ago if you were over 65 you could get a Minnesota campsite from Sunday-Thursday for half price. They experienced enough occupancy to justify the discount. The pressure on campgrounds has increased massively in the last 10 years and now only if you have a handicap placard can you get those 50% off discounts. I don't like it, but that's the price of keeping myself healthy.

Two years ago Whitewater State Park, 35 miles north of us, doubled the number of campsites. If a Minnesota State Park can justify and have the extra acreage, they can and will increase the number of campsites. Trouble is very few parks can handle the increased number of sites. Jay Cooke, Gooseberry, Itasca, etc. can be so full on weekends with campers and day users that you literally stumble over people "enjoying" the park.

For us, summer camping is rare. We like the other three seasons. Besides, except for the karst region of SE Minnesota, you have to put up with mosquitoes.

Enjoy,

Perry
We spent 4 days at Whitewater SP with our daughters family
We plan on returning
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