Summer sunshine is just around the corner and the best time for RVing is almost here. But when school gets out and thousands of RVers compete for prime spots in the great outdoors, do you know how to avoid summer campground crowds?
It Only Takes Three Steps to Avoid Summer Campground Crowds
Follow these three suggestions before hitting the road and you’ll score that perfect spot every time.
Plan Your Summer Vacation Now
Some of the best RVing destinations like scenic national park beaches are on many RVer’s bucket lists for a reason. Unfortunately, these spots fill up fast when good weather happens. Popular RVing destinations almost always require advance reservations. Spontaneity is great outside of the high season but if you don’t want to get turned away at the gate do your research now.
- Visit national park websites and choose the “Plan Your Visit” menu option to learn the best times to avoid campground crowds.
- If you prefer staying in RV parks, call the park office and inquire about visiting during less busy times. Some even offer lower mid-week rates.
- Whatever campground you choose, always reserve your spot if you’re visiting during peak season.
Try Dry Camping on Public Lands
Dry camping on public lands is a great option to avoid summer campground crowds and save money on your RV adventures. Many people enjoy the independence of living off-grid without RV hookups. Although it’s helpful to have the right RV solar power system for your needs, your RV generator can keep you just as comfy in the outback.
The Bureau of Land Management has millions of acres in the west where you can try dry camping and many cost nothing or charge very nominal fees. RVers in the eastern states don’t have BLM lands but can enjoy other free camping options like state-run Department of Wildlife / Natural Resources agencies, U.S. Forest Service managed lands and various recreation areas owned by individual states.
Some of these public camping spots are more well-loved than others, but a good Internet search about your destination will tell you when you’ll find fewer crowds.
- Visit Recreation.gov to find a spot near your intended destination.
- Search online for “Free camping in: _____” to find additional dry camping spots.
Camp on the Outskirts
If your summer vacation budget is tight, you can save money by camping on the outskirts of major attractions along your route. RV parks and campgrounds close to popular summer destinations like national parks and beaches will always be more crowded and cost more than competitors located down the highway. When your goal is to avoid summer crowds, choose campgrounds and RV parks that aren’t quite as convenient to major attractions. You may need to drive a couple of minutes longer to see things on your bucket list, but you’ll have more money to spend on souvenirs.
Let’s face it, even the best RV trip planning can go awry. Campgrounds get filled, traffic is often unavoidable and Mother Nature always bats last. Even the most detailed pre-trip planning should include an alternate trip itinerary just in case conditions become unfavorable at your destination. Keep a few other camping options up your sleeve just in case. Should you need to change destinations on the fly, everyone in your family will stress less and have a better time getting there.
About the Author:
Rene Agredano, a Coach-Net member since 2015, is a self-employed full-time RVer who enjoys writing, jewelry design and animal advocacy. Her adventures with a three-legged dog and husband Jim are chronicled at LiveWorkDream.com
Timothy B. ~ “I was extremely impressed with the way we were back on the road in 1-1/2 hours. The call center and tire service were great!”