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Old 01-16-2014, 08:20 PM   #1
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Love camping, hate making reservations!

Am I doing it wrong, or does everyone experience the frustration of trying to find a CG, then trying to find a good site that has what you want, only to find that one (and many others) aren't available the dates you want them?
Happens every year and we'd probably find better availability if we'd book earlier, like 9 months to a year earlier, but we don't usually think of where we want to go in the summer until this time of year. I guess we're not really THAT organized as to plan next year's camping trips right after we get back from this year's!
Rich
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:56 PM   #2
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Hi Rich
The first time we camped at Henderson Beach SP in Destin FL. May 2009 we were there for 11 days and had to move 6 times for the same reason you are talking about. We now know which site we like and we book it 11 months in advance. If we have to cancel it just costs us one night but well worth the pleasure of being there and enjoying it all.

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Old 01-17-2014, 09:04 AM   #3
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I guess we're not really THAT organized as to plan next year's camping trips right after we get back from this year's!
Rich
Hey, Rich. Penny and I are in the same boat. My plan this year is to purchase a desk calendar and start writing down events as I read about them in magazines and whatnot. The object is to build a "library" of things we want to do. Example: First weekend in Nov. means the North Garden apple festival, peak colors in NC mountains usually 2nd-3rd week in October, etc. I hope by the end of 2014, our calendar will become a "blueprint" to make advanced planning easier.
Places such as Tybee Island near Savannah and James Island outside of Charleston always book up a year or more in advance, as do the spots in the Florida keys, so we just have to suck it up and do what Ted does: make the reservation and eat the cancellation fee if something goes amiss.
Penny and I are heading to Crystal River, Florida, on Sunday. Made the reservations last September. We'll be there just as a record-breaking cold front slams into the Nature Coast. Oh well ...

Teach
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:26 PM   #4
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Rich,

Yes, finding a new place to camp on dates you can go, can be a challenge sometimes. I have come to find I need a "bunch" of places... so if the 1st one is filled up can try the 2nd etc. If you are after "popular" spots, yes be calendar counting as they fill fast.

That said, the internet has really helped the cause for researching out places. Satellite views, pictures on line by others and websites of almost all campgrounds really help when you have never been there and have no idea what to expect. Since the big camper has come to be I am even more into checking out the route and the CG. What goes in may not always come out...

We like tress....call us tree huger's... And as such the way out booney places we like to go are either tree covered we can't see from the satellite view or so remote the image is not very clear. But it still helps. I have 3 different web systems to get aerial images and rotate between them for the best view.

For our local camping, this one is more simple. We are on the State Park circuit almost all the time and 2 to 3 weeks out is usually plenty enough unless it is a holiday weekend the better be watching the calender if you want a certain site.

John
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:43 AM   #5
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I see that it's a problem with you guys too. I think the idea of forfeiting the cancellation fee is a good one, it would encourage us to just make advanced plans without being concerned about whether or not it's really the place we'll end up wanting to go to.
I see some folks like to go back to the same places every year and that means booking the same dates and site on the way out. Barbara and I are born explorers and even though we say we'd like to return to a particular place we really liked, our wanderlust usually gets the better of us and we go looking for someplace that we've not been to before. We just booked a week at Watkins Glen SP for the end of July, looking forward to that, and it's only about 4-1/2 hours from us, about the time it takes us to go to Ocean City MD which we go to every year.
John, yes, the internet has become an increasingly good thing for planning. That website that has the photos of each site is a really big help.
Thanks,
Rich
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:58 AM   #6
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We like to just go. We have spent time in the overflow area of full campgrounds until a open site comes up. Also look for less popular campgrounds such as being stuck between two doublewide mobile homes in a 55 and over mobile home trailer park.

We went to Myrtle Beach in the middle of summer, no reservation. Ended up behind the store on a point sticking out into a lake. Had drop cords and 75 foot of water hose but there was nobody close to us.

Went to Cape Canaveral and stayed next to the maintenance facility without any hookups but we were able to watch the launch and saved a few dollars since we weren't on a campsite but just sitting along the side of the road. Two nights of dry camping. Saw what we had come to see. Saved money.

Maybe I have a helpless look about me but I find that if I ask politely if they can find any spot for us, they usually will.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:07 AM   #7
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I see that it's a problem with you guys too. I think the idea of forfeiting the cancellation fee is a good one, it would encourage us to just make advanced plans without being concerned about whether or not it's really the place we'll end up wanting to go to.
Thanks,
Rich
We usually think we're planning to go before we make a reservation, but have to admit we've made many donations - AKA cancellation fees. We figure when it goes to our state parks, national parks or a COE its a good cause
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:10 PM   #8
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I hate the part about having to plan 9 months in advance for the good sites. It's past planning for the 2014 season already and it's not February yet. Their cancellaton policy is far too expensive, even major Hotels don't charge for a cancellation.

I don't like Reserve America since Active Technology bought them up last year. It's difficult to make a reservation and avoid buying a magazine. Try actually calling them for some reason. All they want to do is sell you something else.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:04 PM   #9
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Hello Paul and Sheri;

It seems these days everyone wants to make an extra dollar. We watch a program here called Shark Tank and there is one guy on there that always says "it's about the Money". I have never had to deal with them wanting to sell me anything but in June when we try to book next year if they try I will just say NO.

We do hope everyone is managing the cold. It is running in the very low F's here and windy. Lot's of snow. In the two week out look I see Feb is going to be the change. Eighty two days to Easter and we leave shortly after that. Can hardly wait.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:32 AM   #10
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Hello Paul and Sheri;

It seems these days everyone wants to make an extra dollar. We watch a program here called Shark Tank and there is one guy on there that always says "it's about the Money".
That's Mr Wonderful I think. Making money is one thing but taking advantage is something else. I think the last time I had to cancel a weekend reservation I made 9 months earlier the two night weekend cost $45 and I got around $13 refunded. Had to pay $9 fee plus first night. Now, was it the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation who kept the $32 or Reserve America or some each. I know that even if you walk in to a campsite, Reserve America gets a little for keeping the records eventhough you had no contact with them.

Now they have a rule that you can't stay more than a total of 14 nights in any one campsite for the summer months EVEN IF THE ENTIRE CAMPSITE IS ALMOST EMPTY! Last year without reservations a campsite where they knew us let us in using Sheri's name because we were beyond the 14 nights total. The solution I guess is to get two Reserve America accounts.

Remember the days when you could go to a campsite, pick out a site and come back and tell them where you set up?
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:00 AM   #11
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Exclamation

Heck.....I can remember being upset in 1972 when the average campsite with full hookups went from $2.75 to $3.25 per night. (Of course, full hookups back then were just water and electric)!

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Old 01-30-2014, 12:16 PM   #12
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Heck.....I can remember being upset in 1972 when the average campsite with full hookups went from $2.75 to $3.25 per night. (Of course, full hookups back then were just water and electric)!

Frank
.................and New York State campsites charged .75 a night for a site. Up from .50 in the mid 60'sWhich is about what I paid in 1968 when I met Sheri at Moffits Beach. Not a bad investment.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:55 PM   #13
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.................and New York State campsites charged .75 a night for a site. Up from .50 in the mid 60'sWhich is about what I paid in 1968 when I met Sheri at Moffits Beach. Not a bad investment.
Yes, but you could buy a car for under 5k.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:48 PM   #14
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Heres the only way to do it and save and get great sites

We have been all over the country as being teachers we have about 8 weeks a summer to travel on the road as we have past 16 years with 4 kids now grown and down to 2 at home still traveling with us. We have discovered when making plans and getting in the best places for the best price is to plan what and where we want to go in Jan. We have made reservations inside Yellowstone's fishing bridge for a week, Inside the grand canyon a week and numerous hard to get into Federal and state parks and average 25 per night. In fact last week I booked our summer trip to Florida Few state parks we discovered down there last trip 6 years ago we fell in love with. One in St Augustine on the beach for a week, and a few othesr impossible to get in to all 25 per night. 4 nights in Nashville 20. per night on a big lake 15 min from downtown Nashville all done last week. Ok you get the idea there many places like this all ove this great country. We stayed a week on the beech Salisbury Mass last year 25 a night.
Ok I use the net. I like Reserve America and have has no issues with any states website that is the only way to reserve and get into any of these places. To cancel its usually a 10 fee.= if ya change you mind later We used to stay private all the time but past 7 years we look fed or state parks 1st they offer the best sites, best price, best views. Ok most don't have pools and all that hotel type stuff but they usually cost half and offer acres of park lakes and views. You have to be willing to use a dump station when you exit most don't have sewer hookup. Even with 6 people we use the bathrooms to shower which are usually very clean at most state and fed parks. In a week don't fill tanks, But key to the most amazing views and prices along with hard to get into site by booking and paying in advance in Jan. It will pay off big time when summer comes
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