View Full Version : Reservations?

07-30-2017, 08:27 AM
We are planning a long road trip next summer. It will take us (hopefully) to the south-west, over to California, up the coast, to Alaska and then home.

The last time we were in the South-west, it was after Labor Day, and although it was crowded with tourists, we had no trouble finding campsites. We would reserve a day or so before moving on.

Next year's trip will be from late May until late July/early August. Do we need to make reservations for the places we want to go ahead of time, or would it be easy enough to find something? What are other people's experiences?

We have to keep in mind, not just do we need campsites, but we needs ones big enough for our rig. We don't want to run into problems with there being a few campsites left in the park, but none big enough for us.

We were in Alaska last summer so we know there is no problem there. I am most concerned about the south-west and up the coast at that time of year.

07-30-2017, 11:27 AM
Depends. If you are planning to stay at an area near some busy tourist destination, then reservations are a good idea, especially if you want to stay at a particular RV park. And the earlier the better as the larger sites typically fill first. If you are not particular about where you stay, then the need is less necessary if you don't mind a last minute search for a site.

If you are just looking for a place on the road to stay a night or two that is not a tourist destination, then likely you would be fine with no reservations, understanding that you may still find some parks full. But a call ahead a few hours before you plan to arrive would save you pulling in, finding the park full, then having to pull out and try another.

It all depends on your personality. Many people hate reservations and almost always travel without them. I am more of a planner, and typically have reservations so that I know I have a site waiting for me. Last thing I want at the end of a long drive is to start searching for a place to stay.

07-30-2017, 01:04 PM
Thanks. I agree with you and think like you do, however we have found that often does not work in a practical sense. When we took our Oregon Trail trip in 2012, we had reservations all along the way. We ended up changing our plans and canceling some of them as we went because sometimes we would want to stay longer in a particular place, and sometimes we would want to move on earlier.

For the 2014 trip to the southwest, reserving a day ahead worked, but then this was September/October.

I guess we would have to make reservations for the Grand Canyon South Rim. As far as Yosemite is concerned, there appear to be a lot of campgrounds in the area and we do not plan to take the Monty right into the National Park. Your advice sounds very good, however.

07-30-2017, 05:18 PM
You stated your last trip was post Labor Day ... the one scheduled next summer will be a different animal. Schools are out in that timeframe and just pulling in to a campground and saying "here we are fit me in" will not be the same. The West coast may be different, but here in the Plains states ... Monday thru Wednesday are somewhat doable ... Thursday on into the weekends are booked well in advance.

07-30-2017, 07:02 PM
Thanks. We may have to plan this trip more exactly, with no room for changing plans along the way.

07-30-2017, 08:11 PM
On the Oregon Coast..you better make reservations for that time of your trip.

07-31-2017, 12:04 PM
On the Oregon Coast..you better make reservations for that time of your trip.

We just left Cannon Beach Oragon and we had to make reservations 6 mounths out. But that was for a mounths stay. For a few days stay I would make reservations a mounth out for any parks that are on the coast any were on the west coast.

07-31-2017, 03:51 PM
If you plan on going along Calif coast, I'd make reservations. We wait until all the kids are back in school as do most of our camping friends. We have reservations at Half Moon Bay for the end of October and it would be hard finding a spot around Bodega Bay area. Of course these are around the SF Bay area.

Carl n Susan
07-31-2017, 11:31 PM
To get a spot in a state park on the coast of either CA, OR (best parks ever) or WA for a 40' Montana in the summer, you will want to have reservations. People book 6-9 months in advance for popular dates. Some state parks will keep some site off the reservation system for last minute campers, but it is really hit and miss.

Private parks tend to have more available sites as long as it isn't a popular area or a big weekend.

08-01-2017, 04:26 AM
Thanks so much for the input. We try to stay away from State and National Parks as they tend to have a lot of trees. They cause problems when backing in, etc. We would be happy with a big parking lot as long as it's level, has water, electric and a dump station. We're RV-ing, not camping. I will do lots of research before we go.

08-03-2017, 07:38 AM
We treat CGs just like motels/hotels. Call for reservations, it they don't take them we ask if they have any rallies scheduled or any other large groups that might fill the CG.

08-03-2017, 09:48 PM
We went from AZ to Ca and up the coast in 2016. Anything along the coast you probably need 2 months up to 6 months advance reservations. Once you get to Canada, I don' t think it is as bad except on Canadian holiday weekends (once a month). And some provinces have one month in the summer that is different than others.
We are currently on a 3 month trip - first 2 in Colorado and Montana - and I couldn't get reservations where I wanted in Colorado even 2 1/2 months out. We think there are many more RVers this year so places are fuller. If you chose less attractive parts of the state, you can get in a week or 2 out - even less if you chose a 'crappy' rv park.
Have fun. Oh, in Alaska slow down from Whitehorse to Fairbanks or Anchorage, as the frost heaves are bad. In 2010 they were really bad in July, but we went mid August and they had kind of fixed the roads a little by then. I also recommend Beluga Nugget Park in Kenai - great view overlooking bay from atop a cliff.