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How to Score a Last Minute Campsite Reservation

Booking a campsite has become increasingly difficult over the past few years. With more people getting outdoors and enjoying camping than ever before, there is an overwhelming demand for popular camping destinations.

What does this mean for you? We suggest booking a campsite well in advance to ensure your top choice reservation is ready when you are. But despite your best intentions, sometimes life just gets in the way. Before you know it, you’re feeling stranded without a camping reservation. While inconvenient, all is not lost, there are ways to get back on track and potentially book the one that got away.

Here's are a few pro tips for scoring a last minute campsite this year.

1. Use Our Resources

Long gone are the days when you needed to snail mail or fax in your site selections for camping reservations. allows you to explore explore campgrounds, parks, cabins, day-use facilities, and more all across the country! Search by date, region, facility, site type, and more to see what options are available for your next camping trip.

2. Hit the Backcountry Trail

It’s no surprise that campgrounds with amenities like showers and electricity are popular destinations for families and glampers. If you don’t mind getting a little dirty and disconnecting for a few days in the backcountry, then backpacking sites are a great alternative to busy RV campgrounds. Although largely more available, backcountry permits are oftentimes required, check online to see if your specific dates are available.

Also Read9 State Parks You Need to Visit

3. Flexible Timing

No matter how often you refresh the reservation page, getting the perfect last minute campsite during peak camping months can be close to impossible. If you’re set on a specific campground or park, check your schedule and see how flexible you are with your dates. Popular destinations sometimes have campsites available mid-week or from Sunday through Thursday. Also, consider booking your site when school is back in session. The weather will still be nice, and you’ll dodge the peak family crowds.

4. Flexible Locations

Trying to snag a last minute campsite at a popular park on a busy summer weekend is going to be tough, but exploring lesser known nearby areas can be a great alternative. Oftentimes nearby campgrounds have wide-open availability and have access to similar trails and natural attractions. Also, if the campground is close enough, you can always drive to your park of choice for the day while you explore.

5. Check for Cancellations

Sometimes people who made reservations months in advance have to cancel their trip—lucky you! If you’re looking for a last minute site at a sold out campground, check a few days before your date and see if any cancellation sites have been re-released. If you see something open, make that reservation quickly–don’t wait to compare options. You’d be surprised how often this technique can yield last minute reservations.


6. Walk-up Sites

If you missed the window to apply for a campsite and the campground is now full, you can still try your luck with a walk-up site. Many state parks have sites reserved for first-come, first-served campers. Be sure to look up when the camp office or registration center opens and arrive first thing in the morning to better your chances. Also, if the campground is local, try getting there a day ahead of schedule and book your site in person, just to guarantee you have it for your desired dates. Have a backup plan, in case the walk-up spots are spoken for.

7. Change Format

So you're an RV lover and are looking for an RV-friendly campsite, but they’re all booked. Now what? Many campgrounds will likely have tent sites available even if their RV sites are completely booked. If you aren’t flexible on your dates or campground location, consider leaving the RV behind and packing up an extra tent. We know this isn’t for everyone, but tent camping isn’t as rugged as it may seem. Tents are bigger and easier to set up than ever before. Plus, the tent area of a campground is usually more spacious and quieter than the RV section.

original post by ReserveAmerica, Thu Apr 22 2021

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