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sillypup
Hi all,

I'm a newbie planning our maiden voyage sometime in the next couple of weeks. Or I *was* planning to go in the next couple of weeks might be more accurate...Every place I've called so far require that you make reservations months in advance at best, some said I'd have to make reservations a year and a half in advance! sad.gif So what's one to do? This seems to make it impossible to have any kind of spontaneity when it comes to going camping, and for someone who doesn't know their schedule a year and a half in advance that means we'll either be camping in the driveway, or boondocking somewhere, which I'm not entirely comfortable with yet, since I've never done this before.
Any suggestions from more experienced people? Do all of you really make reservations that far in advance? If not, where do you go camping? I'm in Northern California, and any suggestions would be welcome smile.gif

Mia
Texasrvers
Hi sillypup,

There are a few factors that affect whether or not you need a reservation and if you can get one.

The area of the country is one factor. We have never RVed in northern CA, so I can not say if getting a reservation a year in advance is the norm for that area. I can say that we have never encountered that much advance notice anywhere else in the country. But there may be areas that are so in demand that it is required.

Another factor is the campground. You didnít mention the names of any you had tried or if they were private, state, national, COE, or someoneís back 40. There are obviously places that are more popular than others, and this might require you to make a reservation, but for a year from now. Again weíve never run into this.

A third factor is the time when you are going. Weekends, summers, holidays, and special events are usually more crowded. We have the luxury of being retired so we purposely travel at ďoffĒ times making it much easier to find a spot at the campground we want.

There have been some times when I havenít made reservations for a trip, but most of the time I do, and then I usually call about 2 weeks in advance. There has been maybe 3 times in 7 years that I could not get a reservation at a particular park at the time I needed it.

I know I didnít solve your problem, but keep trying. Maybe this is just a busy time in that area.

Oh, and one more tip. When you do have a reservation always call about a day before you are scheduled to arrive to confirm it (even if you have a confirmation number). People report all the time that the campground lost their reservation and they had to find another place at 10 pm. I always take time to call, and so far we have not had a problem in this area either. If they donít have your reservation calling ahead at least gives you time to find another campground in the area if you need to.

Sorry youíre having so much trouble, but hang in there. Youíll get to the fun part soon.
sillypup
Thanks Texasrvers! I called around some more and found a couple of campgrounds where I could make reservations a week or two in advance, so that makes me feel better. I also went to check out Camping World today, and there's nothing like a little retail therapy when feeling down tongue.gif

I guess I'll have to look into some generators in the future, so I can be more self sufficient and do some boondocking or dry camping.

The campgrounds I called were all private, I'm not sure where to find info about the other ones you mentioned. And what is COE? Sorry so many questions, but I bought some books today so hopefully I'll learn something from them smile.gif

Mia
Browzin
sillypup

You asked "And what is COE?" COE stands for Corp. of Engineers or Army Corp of Eng.



Now to help you out a little, here is a few web sites for National Parks, State Parks, COE Parks, BLM etc.

http://www.us-national-parks.net/

http://www.blm.gov/search/

http://www.epgsoft.com/CampgroundMap/index.html

http://www.stateparks.com/usa.html

http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/Sta...Campgrounds.htm

http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/
John Blue
Also pick up copy of "Camping with the Corps of Engineers" at Camping World or a good book store. They have some great parks at a small price per night rate. We only make reservations couple times per year. Weekends you will find places that may be full. On the most part we never find any problems anyplace we go.
Texasrvers
sillypup,

I'm glad to hear you finally found some places with a more normal reservation time. There have been a few times we pulled into a campground without a reservation at all, and there were plenty of spaces available. But as I said this was usually at an "off' time.

Please don't worry about asking questions. That is how we all learn so that we don't make stupid mistakes. It's the person who doesn't ask questions and blunders on through that usually causes the problem.

I was going to answer your last questions, but some other experienced people on this site beat me to it. They have given some very good information so I wonít repeat. The only thing they didnít say is that the two well known campground directories--Trailer Life and Woodallís--also list campgrounds in state parks, national parks and forests, and COE parks (now you know what that is), but this site is a far better source for reviews. I might add that state, national and COE campgrounds tend to have a little more natural setting and are a little more primitive (without amenities such as a pool, wifi, sewer), but they can still be very nice. Itís all in what you like.

Finally I definitely understand about retail therapy at Camping World. We went in one time to buy tiolet paper, and came out with a new motor home!!!
BBear
Just to add one thing about COE's...they only allow reservations for about 60 percent of their sites...the other 40 percent are for walk-ins, which I think is great.

I've found from experience that you don't always need a reservation...I've gone to campgrounds that I was told or saw online that they were full, but yet got a site....there's usually always cancellation of reservations...but you are taking a chance in doing this, but it's a chance that's always paid off for me.
RLM
sillypup> The need for an advanced reservation is usually based on an absolute need to be someplace during a specific time. A weekend, holiday, or a summer vacation trip to a heavily tourist area would probably call for it. Another would be if you were going out with or meeting some other RV friends and wanted to insure sites located together.

A campground reservation is a two-edge sword. It does provide some security, but if your plans changed or if you donít like the campground, then you may end up paying a cancellation fee.

If you do extended travel, then you probably donít have a set schedule and can pick and choose where you want to stay. We only make reservations when we expect a particular campground to be full - mainly, a holiday period in a major tourist area.

I only use the campground directories for general info and prefer Woodalls. Thru experience (mostly bad) I have found that the rating systems in those directories arenít accurate. The suggestion elsewhere in this thread about using this, or another review site, to check what others really think about a campground is a very valid one.

TexasRvers> I donít think she will get to the ďfunĒ part until she has hit something with the rig, forgot to lower the TV antenna before driving off, had the sewer hose come loose in the middle of dumping, parked on a 30 degree sloping site, had to roll up the awning at 3 am in a driving rainstorm, etc. etc. smile.gif

I wish people on the site would stop suggesting the state and COE parks. That just means more people are going to use them and I canít have them all to myself. wink.gif
Texasrvers
RLM, you are so right. Sillypup has lots of "fun" ahead of her. wink.gif
Butch
sillypup,

We have been camping/Rving for many years, since the mid 1950's. Since 1995 we had been going to an upstate New York campground in the Lake Placid area every year not less than 3 times a year. Numerous years until the fall of 2005, We spent 6 to 8 visits a year. In otherwords, We, plus a few others were regular customers. In the beginning, we would reserve a camp site upon check out for our next outing. Under new ownership, that changed, and reservation were requested to be made months in advance. Then the reservations advanced to a year in advance. During the summer portion of 2005, they were not only accepting reservations for 2006, but was also accepting reservations for 2007, a full two years in advance. This is where we drew the line, we did not make any for 2007, and did not use our 2006 reservations either. (The yearly reservations, for the regulars, did not require a pre-paid fee). This was only one reason, an important one, why we chose to spent our Rv dollar somewhere else. Of course the owners may do as they please, it's their business. This campground has been losing customers, (campers), for the last four years because of varies reasons. They do not have the campers, in the campground, as the previous owners did. Their loss. We like the area, the campground itself, but the owners have a lot to learn about how to treat customers, and increase their business numbers. Just our prospective on the subject.
sillypup
Thanks everyone for your replies!! It's great that there are so many helpful people out there willing to help us newbies smile.gif

Browzin- thanks for the great links, very helpful!

I'll definitely pick up a campground directory and find some of those nice state and COE parks. RLM- I promise to behave, you won't even know I'm there wink.gif
Dear God, I hope that sewer hose never comes off in the middle of dumping ohmy.gif in that case you might hear me.......

Mia
John S.
QUOTE(sillypup @ Jul 2 2007, 03:13 PM) *

Thanks everyone for your replies!! It's great that there are so many helpful people out there willing to help us newbies smile.gif

Browzin- thanks for the great links, very helpful!

I'll definitely pick up a campground directory and find some of those nice state and COE parks. RLM- I promise to behave, you won't even know I'm there wink.gif
Dear God, I hope that sewer hose never comes off in the middle of dumping ohmy.gif in that case you might hear me.......

Mia



If you dump enough or long enough stuff will happen. Like the hose splitting at the collar or some such thing. I now replace mine every two years....
rodman
Hey Sillypup,

Where are you trying to get into. I live in the central valley and never run into that problem, unless maybe you are trying to get into Pismo coast village or maybe camp Edison at Shaver. Those are the only 2 places I've seen that you have to make reservations pretty far in advance, esp during the summer. I'm not sure how far you are wanting to travel but I usually don't go much further than 4 or 5 hours away for a 3 day weekend, which will get me to almost Bodega Bay to the north and Tahoe to the NE. Coastal is pretty much available with maybe a week or 2 notice. I usually choose a place from this site as well. I have found the reviews to be pretty much on the money. I travel with 2 labs as well and that has also not been a problem getting in anywhere with short notice. There are some wonderful places in our great state so you have allot of fun ahead of you, enjoy it.

Just my opinion,
sillypup
Rodman; the three places with the longest advance reservations was Bodega Bay(a few months), Westport (will take reservations now for next summer), and Edgewater in Kelseyville( a year and a half) I was trying to find something with full hookups(and relatively close to home) for our first trip, just to get the hang of how everything works, but I think there are lots of nice places where you can drycamp, which is what I'd rather do anyways once I've figured out how everything works on my new trailer smile.gif

4-5 hours away sounds like what I have in mind also. I'd rather spend the time camping than driving, but when I see everyones colorful little maps of the states they've been, makes me want to do that too tongue.gif

Mia
rodman
Hi Mia,

I'm not sure where close to home is but Bodega Bay is right in the middle of Salmon season, I'm guessin that's why you can't get into there. There are really quite a few places up and down the coast that are nice. Again check this site for the reviews for places that look interesting and if they are close enough take a ride and check them out before you go. If I am going somewhere we haven't been and I have enough time I'll make a Saturday out of it and go check out 1 or 2 places in advance, esp if I'm going to be staying for more than a couple of days, don't want to really end up at a dump. Do your homework and have a great time. Don't be afraid to call the park you are interested in and ask questions, most places are very happy to help. If they aren't then it's really not a place you want to go and spend your money. The main thing is enjoy yourself, Rv'ing is a blast.

Just my opinion,
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