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Old 10-08-2012, 08:53 PM   #1
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reservation tips

I'm starting to do so planning for our retirement tip. We plan to visit a number of national parks and national forest. The problem I'm running into is that every time I check a reservation I can't seem to get any openings. It seems that everything is full. Does anyone have any tips?
Thanks
Steve
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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Plan (and reserve) as far ahead as possible, and plan on arriving on a Wed of Thu night, rather than the popular Fri night arrival.

We book at Assateague Island State Park (MD), every other year, and we have to get sites starting on Wed or Thu, through the following Sunday to get a full week with the number of sites that we want, all together (eight sites in next year's group).
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
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Try searching for fewer days and see what's available. Neighbor was looking for a week but everything was booked. I found two sites for 5 or 6 nights. Wasn't exactly what he wanted but he was happy.

Be first online when the reservation window opens. As suggested start with a midweek day. Be prepared - dates and site (including backup choices).

For ReserveAmercia I sometimes will book the last day of the month before my trip if is my trip is in the first week of the upcoming month. Example: June 31- July 6 to get my holiday booked before the July window opens. The second the window opens I'm ready. If you wait even a minute or two - good luck. 90% of the time you will have little choice if at all.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:10 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone for the tips. I'll try them and see what happens.
Steve
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:52 PM   #5
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good tip terier! never even heard of reserveamerica. Looks pretty cool!
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:34 PM   #6
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ReserveAmerica works well for us. Terier is right, though, there are certain CG's at certain times of the year where you want to know exactly the first minute you can reserve.

Here in Wisconsin State Parks, for example, both Peninsula and Devil's Lake fill up quickly for electric sites in June - August. WI allows 11 months in advance and the time is 9:00am I believe. I usually lock my office door so I get no interruptions, get all my ducks in order and hope my internet doesn't go down

Good luck
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:41 PM   #7
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For CA state parks the window for scheduling is 6 months in advance. Arpil just went on sale October 1. At more popular campgrounds the summer months like June, July & August fill up extremly fast because longer date ranges are booked.

I also like this website to get a general idea of the campground & sites.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:59 PM   #8
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In my experience, reservable sites make up about 50% to 90% of the total number of sites in a CG. The rest, first come first serve, or walk in (don't know why they call them that) are available to travelers or those who are willing to just show up on a whim.
Try to get to a CG on Sunday afternoon or a Monday or a Tuesday.
If you want to stay somewhere for a week, consider moving from one spot to another after a couple days. A good host will show you available sites with the dates they have open.
Also, stay near a NP not in it. When driving in the park, check the CG's, if any, and reserve on the spot. There are always cancellations and no-shows.
Move your rig in later that day or the next day.
A friend of mine, Unstable Tripod of PopUpPortal, did a 6 week Southwest Tour and did not make a single reservation. He wrote extensively about his trip.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:59 PM   #9
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I have used Reservation America, good site. I know the window for the National Parks and National Forest are six month. Does anyone know when the window opens? Is it based on days or does it open on the 1st lets say for the entire month? Is mid night the time?

In Florida its almost impossible to get into a State Park from Jan to May. Snowbirds. We use county parks and there are some good ones (and some not so good) Most are first come so the best time is Sunday afternoon or Monday Morning at opening.

Thanks
Steve
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:06 PM   #10
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I have used Reserve America for New York State parks for years. Currently, one can make a reservation 9 months (to the day), in advance, for up to 14 nights. For example, if I want to start my camping on May 20, 2013 the earliest I can make a reservation is August 20, 2012. On that day, I can reserve a specific campsite for May 20, 2013 thru June 3, 2013. It is by the number/day of the month, not by the month. I make 95% of my reservations 9 months in advance, and then work out the logistics of vacations from work. I am fortunate to live with 45 miles of the Adirondack Mountains and the Saint Lawrence River, so even if I have to work for 1 or 2 days--it is still a vacation when you get to spend the evening at camp!
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