Do you usually make campground reservations or just take it day by day?

Do you make campground reservations before heading off to a new location, or do you just head off and worry about getting a site once you’re there? Please feel free to leave a comment.

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28 Thoughts to “Do you usually make campground reservations or just take it day by day?”

  1. jillie

    If you wing it in Michigan? You might not get a spot you want. I just made our campground rsvp for out west just now. One we can’t get until May 1. Fingers crossed. Otherwise in Michigan? Make a rsvp or else you get nothing.

  2. Steven Scheinin

    Nothing is black or white. We are full timing for the next five years. We do not make reservations, because we do not know what direction we will be traveling until a day or so before we depart. We try to follow the 40/80 rule, don’t stay where it is below 40 degrees or above 80 degrees. We are also guided by fires, floods and hurricanes. But what we do do (?) is a day or so ahead we call just to make sure they can accommodate a 40 ft. fifth wheel

  3. BReall

    We are on day six of our fourth drive from Ohio to Alaska (and back). We rarely make reservations. With the use of apps and sites, we have had success in finding nice little cheap or free city park campgrounds. Most are without services, but every now and then we’ll find an electric hookup.

  4. Mike

    I make reservations only when I am going to a popular area that I know If I don’t I may end up a long ways from where I want to be. Montana in the summer is a good example, National Parks, etc.

  5. Phil

    We have just recently started to travel without reservations, but so far the trips have been close to home and during the “off season” for the parks. We also bought a Senior Off Season Pass, which makes it even more worth the risk!

  6. Peggy Coffey

    We are fulltimers and tend to stay a month in the campgrounds so we make reservations. We have our reservations made up to May of next year. It’s just one less thing to worry about.

  7. Kelly R

    We have never made a reservation, either camping or moteling.
    How do I know where I will be when I get tired? Have never had a problem finding a campground in the area we were in. Our travels are from Florida thru the south and up and thru the mid-west. Average 5,000 miles a summer. Have never thought about stopping at a Walmart until I started reading RVTravel. We are so new to cell phones (dumb cell phones) that we don’t even think about making a call when on the road. Been doing this for 49 years now. I guess we live in the dark ages and get along just fine. Travel, scenery, and small towns.

  8. john stahl

    I always make reservations way in advance for every RV stop with our motorhome

  9. Mike M.

    We generally wait until on the road in the morning, the co. Pilot looks for sites 250 to 300 miles away as we roll, never had a problem, put on 2000 to 3000 most summers.

  10. Linda & David

    Like George C., we have a 45-ft bus (vintage 1995 that we remodeled inside) so we don’t fit just anywhere. On the flip side, we are self-contained and can be comfortable while ‘pavement camping.’ We are about to leave on our first extended trip and have made reservations for the next month. We are heading to TN, VA, and WV before making our way back to south GA. Since this is prime leaf-peeping season, we wanted to be assured of a spot. So far we just have one night where we will stay at a Walmart.

  11. Michael

    The poll again fails to have enough options. We usually make reservations rolling down the road the day we need the campsite. If I click that I usually make reservations, I am counted with those who make reservations months ahead and the poll gives a distorted picture.

    1. Bill

      I Agree. We mostly do the same, reservations months ahead when we have a specific place we want to be at a specific time, a few days ahead at other times, and going down the road for single nights enroute with pavement as a backup.

      1. Troy

        We are the same. The longer our stay at a particular place, or the more popular an area at a certain season is what determines how far in advance our reservations are. If we are heading somewhere we usually call while on the road for overnighters, but sometimes we will just pull in and they have a spot.

    2. Gene

      I do the same Michael usually make the call on the day we are on the road. My schedule is usually flexible and I can stay at a location longer or not. Faced with taking off to Arizona this winter for 2 months and will have to make reservations where we will spend a week or more at a time. We don’t want to park in one place for a couple of months and don’t like being tied to an exact schedule. So we’ll see how it goes.

  12. George C

    We are bipolar. I always make reservations well in advance for holidays, and fill in our travel plan roughly a month in advance. At 45’, we fit in a lot of places but not all, so reservations are a good approach, preferably online (I can do things on my schedule and not have to play telephone tag).

    On the other end of the spectrum, we often stay at Elks Lodges when possible and most of those don’t take reservations. But even that is changing, so we’ll be making more reservations in the future.

    Like a lot of folks, we don’t do one nighters if making a multi-day run, just use Rest Areas, Pilot/Js, or other “Days End” stops.

  13. Tommy Molnar

    I guess it depends on what part of the country you travel in. Being almost exclusively boondockers (unless going to visit someone where there is no parking and we need to find an actual RV park), we have little problem finding places to camp. We steer clear of CA.

  14. Danny Wells

    We make reservations for extended stays in peak seasons. When we’re on the road about mid- afternoon we start calling ahead trying to find a space for the night, it usually works out but not always. If we don’t find a vacancy we’ve always found a friendly Wal-Mart or somewhere to stop.

  15. Renee from Idaho

    The accuracy of this question depends on the time of year you travel and location. We always travel in the Fall after school is back in session and have never had to make a reservation, but some campgrounds that are more popular than others even at that time of year can be hard to get into without a strategy, but not necessarily a reservation. What I mean by that is for popular first come first served CGs, be there at the optimal time aloing with talking to the hosts in advance as to what sites are vacating. We’ve even stayed the previous nite at a close by RV park, driving over to the FCFS CG with only our TV, reserving a site, then going back to get our camper.

  16. JEAN

    This was a really tough question. We are currently travelling from CA to FL. We have not made any reservations. If we feel the need to stop we MIGHT call ahead and see if we can get a site for the night. Most of the time we just stay at a Flying J. We have made a reservation for the winter in FL. When we leave FL we will be travelling to New England without reservations We have made several reservations in NH and ME for next summer.

  17. Peg

    We hardly ever make reservations unless we plan on being somewhere over a holiday. We haven’t been on the road full time that long, tho, only since August 20, but haven’t had any problem getting a space anywhere from California to Alabama and back. We stay at military bases quite often but find local spots good too. If we like a place sometimes we’ll reserve the spot to stay longer.

  18. Anthony Vinson

    I make reservations for my destinations and bases for my smaller radius trips. I like to know that the end of my drive is reserved. When we’re on th road, it’s dry camping, all the way.

  19. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    We only make a reservation if it happens to be a location where LOT”S of people like to go to in prime season like the FL Key’s or Disney World. When traveling from one destination to the other we rarely stay at any campground or RV park. Why pay all of that money to only stay 12 hours? To each their own, different strokes for different folk’s. I own a self-contained RV coach so I don’t need all of the amenities & conveniences to stay alive like some people require.

  20. Tom

    For trips in winter touring months, always have reservations in Florida. I have been holding reservations at Fl state parks for this winter since spring.

    Otherwise, we wing it.

  21. Mike

    We usually call ahead each morning when we first get on the road to reserve a spot for that night – if we plan to stay for an extended time, we do make reservations well in advance.

  22. Sue

    Ditto what Booneyrat said. Until about 2012 we didn’t have to make very many reservations except for popular national and state parks and there were plenty of boondocking sites available out West. Then it got increasingly tougher to find suitable places with or without hookups. Because of the lack of spontaneity, crowded campgrounds/RV parks, and difficulty making reservations when/where we wanted them, we stopped full-time RVing in 2017 and bought another house. We haven’t had the 5th-wheel out for 19 months but do have reservations for two months in southern TX, NV, and AZ this winter at some state/regional parks and a military base. We made them months ago when reservations first opened up.

  23. Judy G

    Although I’ve generally made reservations for the last 11 years, the crowding and high prices are pushing me to more boondocking. By making travel days shorter and researching my options beforehand, the ‘new way’ will hopefully work nicely.

  24. Mary Ann

    My husband has medical needs. We plan and reserve sites along our route months in advance. Even on short getaways to a Florida state park, we will check availability online and then make a reservation.

  25. Booneyrat

    The RV lifestyle has become so crowded one has to plan way in advance anymore to find a spot.Even boon docking is getting crowded.

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