When you set out on your camping adventure, the last thing you want to hear is “sorry, no vacancy”. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that many campers come face-to-face with. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry – there are several things you can do to find a campsite even when the campground is full. In this guide, we’ll look at some great tips and tricks that will help you find a place to stay and ensure a smooth camping experience.
Understand the Situation: Why Campgrounds Fill Up
As much as we would like to think that we’re the only ones who love camping, the truth is that it’s a popular activity for many people. This is one of the main reasons why campgrounds often fill up quickly. During peak camping season or holidays, it’s not uncommon for campsites to be booked months in advance. Additionally, with the rise of outdoor activities and a renewed interest in nature, more and more people are venturing out to campgrounds. This surge in demand can easily result in a full campground situation. Understanding why campgrounds fill up will help you plan accordingly and be prepared to find alternative camping options.
Research and Plan Ahead
One of the most effective ways to ensure you find a campsite, even when the campground is full, is to research and plan ahead. Start by checking the campground’s website or calling ahead to inquire about their reservation policies and availability. Many campgrounds offer online reservation systems that allow you to book in advance, sometimes months ahead of time. If you’re unable to secure a reservation, consider looking into nearby campgrounds or state parks that may have availability. Additionally, try to be flexible with your travel dates and consider camping during the weekdays or off-peak seasons when campgrounds are less likely to be fully booked. By doing your research and planning ahead, you can increase your chances of finding a campsite and avoid the disappointment of being turned away.
Consider Alternative Camping Options
If the campground you had your heart set on is full, don’t despair! There are still plenty of alternative camping options to explore. Consider checking out nearby national forests, wilderness areas, or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land that may allow dispersed camping. These areas often offer more flexibility and freedom when it comes to finding a campsite. Another option is to look for privately-owned campgrounds or RV parks in the area. These locations may have availability even when public campgrounds are full. Finally, don’t be afraid to think outside the box – consider unconventional camping options like staying in a yurt, cabin, or even booking a last-minute camping spot through online platforms like Hipcamp. By considering these alternative camping options, you can still enjoy a memorable outdoor adventure even when the campground is full.
Try Your Luck with Walk-In or First-Come, First-Serve Sites
When all else fails and you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your luck with walk-in or first-come, first-serve campsites? Many campgrounds set aside a certain number of campsites for those who arrive without a reservation. These sites are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Arriving early in the morning or midweek can increase your chances of snagging one of these coveted spots. While it may require a bit of spontaneity and flexibility, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience, adding an element of excitement to your camping adventure. So, roll the dice and give it a try – you just might get lucky!
Check Nearby Private Campgrounds and RV Parks
If you’ve exhausted all options and the campground of your dreams is still full, don’t worry! There are plenty of nearby private campgrounds and RV parks that you can check out. These hidden gems often have availability even when public campgrounds are booked solid. With a quick online search or a phone call, you can discover these lesser-known spots that offer all the amenities you need for a comfortable camping experience. From beautiful campsites to RV hookups and even shower facilities, private campgrounds and RV parks can be a great alternative when public campgrounds are full. So, expand your search and explore these private options for a memorable camping adventure.
Look for Dispersed or Backcountry Camping Opportunities
When all the traditional campgrounds are full, it’s time to think outside the box and explore dispersed or backcountry camping opportunities. These hidden gems can offer a unique and secluded camping experience in the great outdoors. Look for national forests, wilderness areas, or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land that allow dispersed camping. This means you can set up camp in designated areas away from crowded campgrounds. Keep in mind that dispersed camping may have limited facilities, so come prepared with your own water, food, and proper camping gear. It’s a chance to reconnect with nature and enjoy the peace and solitude of the wilderness.
Expand Your Search Radius
When all else fails and you still can’t find a campsite, it’s time to expand your search radius. Don’t limit yourself to a specific area or campground. Cast your net wider and explore neighboring towns or even different regions. You never know what hidden gems you might discover. Look for campgrounds or parks that are further away from popular tourist attractions or heavily visited areas. These locations are more likely to have availability and may offer a unique camping experience in a less crowded environment. So don’t be afraid to venture out and explore new territories – you might just stumble upon your new favorite camping spot.
In your quest for a campsite, it’s essential to be prepared for the possibility of a campground being full. But don’t despair! By understanding why campgrounds fill up, researching and planning ahead, considering alternative options, trying your luck with walk-in sites, checking out private campgrounds and RV parks, looking for dispersed camping opportunities, and expanding your search radius, you can increase your chances of finding a campsite even when it seems impossible. Remember, camping is all about embracing adventure and the unknown, so keep an open mind and get ready for a memorable outdoor experience. Happy camping!