Being snowed in has kept many RVers off the road, but apparently not off of their computers. RVers, anticipating another year of pandemic-fueled RV travel, are booking campsites earlier than ever. Echoing NERVDA Executive Director Bob Zagami’s oft-heard plea of “Make your reservations early this year”, USA Today recently emphasized the same. In an article discussing campground availability, USA Today stated,
“If you take nothing else from this article, let it be this: Plan early and reserve a camping spot as soon as possible, taking advantage of the fact that many federal and state campgrounds accept reservations – and some even require them.”
Gary Garth – USA Today
Campground availability – Is it all hype?
Is the talk around RV inventory and campground availability all hype? Not really. While it’s true that RV sales are up, RV rentals are up, and campground bookings are up, there are still some ways to find available campsites.
The trick is to reach out of your comfort zone a little bit and go beyond asking your RVing friends or popular Facebook groups. You need to do a little deeper research on your own. You’ll find that there are still plenty of sites available if you are willing to take the time to plan your RV trip and put in the research time.
Are there available campgrounds near me?
In all probability, yes. For example, in the DFW area alone, a search for campground availability centering around either Fort Worth or Dallas yields about the same results…just under 190 campgrounds. According to the ARVC 2020 Industry Trends and Insights Report, the median number of campsites per campground is 95. That means the DFW area has potentially around 18,000 available campsites.
Overall, Texas has just under 2000 campgrounds, bringing that average campsite availability up to around 190,000 in Texas alone.
Campground availability at high profile locations
For those looking to visit Mount Rushmore instead of Dallas, planning ahead is most certainly an advantage. Still, there are 122 campgrounds in and around Rapid City, South Dakota. While it’s true that the most high profile campgrounds will fill up quickly, finding an alternate location with campground availability should not be a problem.
The biggest problem RVers face, particularly the new ones, is that they have no idea how to find these campgrounds. Many of these folks are asking for recommendations on Facebook or trying to find campgrounds with Yelp, instead of going to a dedicated campground location site like CampgroundReviews.com.
With roughly 400,000 reviews covering tens of thousands of campgrounds, no other site even comes close. For those more inclined to use an app on their tablet or mobile device, the RV LIFE GPS & Campgrounds app includes all of the same data, filters, photos, and reviews. This functionality in the app is completely free, with other features such as RV navigation and trip planning at an additional cost.
RV LIFE Campgrounds helps you find campgrounds based on your needs via onboard filtering tools. Whether you are looking for a national park for your small travel trailer or an RV resort for your 5th wheel or motorhome, you can find it with RV LIFE Campgrounds. Once you’ve located a few candidates, you can start calling to find campground availability and make reservations.
Research is your friend
With the power of the internet at our disposal, we research things ad nauseum. We’ll look at 50 reviews about which vacuum cleaner to buy, or the best headphones for a Zoom meeting, but when it comes to finding campgrounds, we just punt. If Google can’t find it or our friends didn’t go there…it doesn’t exist.
If you have plans to visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, or any one of thousands of popular lakeside campgrounds during July 4th weekend or the Memorial Day holiday then yes…you should start planning and making reservations right away. That doesn’t mean you have to give up if the most well known or most advertised campgrounds are booked.
Campground availability will certainly be more challenging than in times past. There are hidden gems all over this country that have available sites. Do your research, make some phone calls, and then book an enjoyable campground. RVing might be the only way to get away this year, so don’t give up.
4 thoughts on “Campground Availability – How To Find Campsites For Your 2021 Road Trip”
We have not had much issue at all out west this year, especially since none of the Canadians are able to come out this year. The majority of locations have only been at 30 to 40 percent capacity. Please note we don’t camp much in “destination” locations.
I live in Florida and my favorite campgrounds near us are full beginning in November and December and nothing is available until Mid April or May unless you go for one night! These are state parks. Apparently the snowbirds book them all up for the entire winter so us natives have no where to go without paying the prices charged by private campgrounds. I can’t afford that. Starting this week, I’m going to start reserving my faves thru the whole year so maybe we will get to go camping when we’re ready!
I’m pretty adept at finding the right campgrounds for us for the fall of 2021. Still, I had difficulty in getting our first choice in a few places and had to make 2nd and 3rd choices to get what we wanted. Next year I expect it to be even worse as we are looking at a longer trip to the southwest. Perhaps a lot of newbies will have sold their RV’s by then.
What we really really need is for the federal government to build more campgrounds.
BLM, Forest Service, BofR, national parks and monuments, etc.