Reserve America tips???

Discussion in 'Reservation Systems' started by JBinNV, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. JBinNV

    JBinNV Member

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    May 10, 2017
    Reno, NV
    I usually camp off grid, but this year there are a few developed campsites that I want to visit early next spring. As we approach the 6 month window of opportunity, are there any tips or tricks I can use to lock up a few choice campgrounds through Reserve America? I have never booked a campsite with them and was wondering if it is a simple process. Do I need to get up with coffee in hand waiting for some count down timer to fire off before I can grab these sites that I have scouted over the summer, without someone else beating me to it?
     
  2. JBinNV

    JBinNV Member

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    33
    May 10, 2017
    Reno, NV
    I guess I was wrong. It looks like everything is already booked out a year in advance. I have tried 15 times since posting this to try to reserve any dates possible at the campground I want to visit with no luck whatsoever.
     
  3. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    Jul 5, 2011
    Macomb County Michigan
    What campground are you trying to book at?
     
  4. JBinNV

    JBinNV Member

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    May 10, 2017
    Reno, NV
    East Fork Campground in Rock Creek Lake, California. Any one of these sites: 110, 111, 112, 114, 116 or 118. Sept 26th - 30th 2018
     
  5. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

    1,416
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    Jul 5, 2011
    Macomb County Michigan
    Here's what I found when I tried a reservation for those dates:

    Arrival date may be beyond Reservation Window
    • Select arrival date before Fri Apr 13 2018
    • Come back on Mon Mar 26 2018 and try again
    • See other dates by using the calendar below
     
  6. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Active Member

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    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    I just checked those dates and you're outside the reservation window.

    Arrival date may be beyond Reservation Window
    • Select arrival date before Fri Apr 13 2018
    • Come back on Mon Mar 26 2018 and try again
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  7. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Active Member

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    Nov 25, 2016
    Chicago suburbs
    Agreed. I've used the site before. It's how you book state parks in Illinois (among many other states, I'm sure). Each state and/or campground has different rules about how far in advance you can book. And I every park fills up at a different rate depending on how popular it is.
     
  8. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Dec 22, 2002
    Malvern, PA
    And the reservation window can vary from state to state.
     
  9. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    You can only book during the eligible booking window, on both reserveamerica.com and recreation.gov. For many places, that's 6 months in advance. There are some places, such as Utah state parks, that have a 4 month window. There are some places that let you book up to a year or so ahead of time. (e.g. Arizona state parks, but they have their own website).
    How on the dot you need to be depends on the popularity of the campground, and time of year. Camping has become more popular over the past few years, and we now find there are places (Grand Canyon, other NPs, and Colorado camping, among them) where we are usually out of luck if we don't book at 6 months or so. We booked our Thanksgiving camping for an AZ SP in March, since we wanted a power site and are meeting friends, so wanted sites near each other. We already have reservations for a Retro meet-up in April, and will need to book soon if we opt to go to Utah right after that.
    While it may sound daunting, once we start to plan a trip, I put the dates I can reserve on my calendar. If it's a place we haven't been to before, we may do research on the website and campsitephotos.com, maybe even satellite pics, so I have a list of sites. We usually have notes if we've been to a campground in the past, though if they update the campground they aren't always as useful as they had been.
     
  10. Katskamper

    Katskamper Active Member

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    Nov 21, 2015
    Fort Worth, TX
    call the campground and ask to be put on cancellation list?
     
  11. jbirdt2001@yahoo.com

    jbirdt2001@yahoo.com Member

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    Aug 9, 2011
    North Dakota
    This is what we have learned a few years ago booking both locally and Reserve America. Campers got smart about sites filling up and started booking two extra days earlier then the weekend they desire so they get a site. This is a couple extra days cost and vacation but here in ND weekends especially holidays fill completely. We generally choose a none holiday weekend to camp making our reservation odds better and camping not so crowded. Good luck and happy camping jay
     
  12. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    We dont make reservation much. Save the bucks. We make reservations if we know sites are going to fill up because its a special time or place. For the most part we monitor the availability, if it begans to drop low we make reservations. But in or normal year out for about 15 camping trip we make about 4 reservations. since other cancle the top choice reservations we end up with nice sites. Some SP's are required to set aside walk in sites. Several times the the best sites in the CG.

    The CG's seem to be getting wise to our method. They try to get us to make reservations. Just on our last trip 2 CG's told us the CG was almost full. One CG was 100% empty with the exception of us and the other was about 50% full. They con us into making reservations.
     
  13. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    Camping has gotten so popular that in many of the places we go, that we pretty much always make reservations. We'd rather spend the reservation fee and know we have a site, then spend time searching for one. Most of the time, we drive 5-8 hours to camp, which factors into it too.
    Yes, there are often a few empty sites, but we usually don't know why. People may be delayed or have cancelled and no one took the site. That's not usually an issue in places such as Grand Canyon, where walk-ins fill any empty sites (and others go away disappointed because they didn't have reservations).
    I did a spot check yesterday for the Utah state park where we want to stay in April; we can make our reservations Saturday. Utah has a 4 month reservation window - we have reservations for the remainder of that trip already. The sites we really wanted are already booked by those who arrive earlier than we will, so we're discussing yet more alternatives. The NPs that were on our first plans were filled on the first day eligible, those have a 6 month window. (I was on the road and didn't get to try to make reservations until late afternoon.)
    One of our favorite campgrounds in CO now tends to be reserved at about the 6-month window; it also has one loop that is FCFS only, but many of the sites there aren't suitable for the pup we had or our TT. We used to be able to reserve a site very close to when we wanted to go.
    Since we plot to make the best use of my husband's vacation time, making reservations really doesn't bother us. Once in a while we have to cancel or change plans, but that is off-set by not searching at the end of a travel day. We also learned early on that we do more camping when we put it on the calendar, reservations or not.
     
    XKPin likes this.
  14. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Active Member

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    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    How much are the reservation fees? At Kansas State Parks it's $3. COE is $0
     
  15. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    10,635
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    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    It depends. For some, such as Mather CG at Grand Canyon, there isn't an additional fee at the time of reservation, but there is a penalty if canceled. IIRC it's under $10.
    For others the reservation fee is under $10.
     
  16. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    At COE Canal CG at LBL i was charged either 6 or 8 dollars. OH its like 6, VA its 5, FL it is 6, AL it was 5 or 6. I know i have been charged my MI, IN, PA, NY, USDA.
     
  17. Turbulent

    Turbulent Member

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    Jan 2, 2018
    I'm still waiting in my refund checks for cancellations back in August...of 2017.

    I've had the worst experience with them. They said they underwent a system merger (at least in California, it's reserve California) and things were screwed up so the state was sending paper checks.

    Yea. No check yet, but they did take their cancellation fee automatically.
     
  18. XKPin

    XKPin There's no situation so bad it can't be made worse

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    Oct 28, 2016
    Gloucester, Virginia
    I too see too many empty reserved sites when I arrive.

    With disappointment I read where many campers are now overbooking several campgrounds figuring the cancellation fee is insignificant. Some people say that it's too hard to know what the weather is going to be when they are available to camp. They hold the multi-campground sites until the last minute before cancelling. Even if they cancel a week or two out, that still leaves potential camper planners without a site because the sites were full months earlier. This practice seems to be increasing.
     
  19. durhamcamper

    durhamcamper Active Member

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    Apr 21, 2010
    Pickering, Ontario
    Booking popular Provincial Park sites has gotten brutal up here. It's a 5 month to the day earliest reservation window and you can book at 7 a.m. I have missed out on many sites over the last few years.....this morning was the same thing. I hit the 'reserve this site' button at pretty much exactly 7 a.m. and missed out. (there is a countdown clock on the reservation site and even watching that you still get beat. I guess it depends on internet connection speed or how many milliseconds away from 7 a.m. you are. It's really frustrating.)
     
  20. DJS12354

    DJS12354 Active Member

    Seems to me that they should be able to program a little code and determine who the "serial" offenders are, then take steps to prevent this practice.
     

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