Traveling Xcountry-Need Reservations?

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mengualj's picture
Last seen: 4 months 5 days ago
Joined: 07/07/2020 - 13:24
Traveling Xcountry-Need Reservations?

We're heading X-country in June. We've done this a few times before and never made reservations and did just fine. We feel like we will be OK but figured we'd ask to make sure. We're thinking we will call ahead each day to make sure of availability. We have the Good Sam's book for reference. 
Your thoughts and experiences?


Robin and Joe

Greg A
Greg A's picture
Last seen: 1 week 15 hours ago
SOI-AdministratorLifetime Member
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 20:45

I just booked a 3 month trip in fall and it wasn't easy.

The National Parks are opening dates about every week 6 months out and they fill up almost immediately, but I was able to book some less popular ones that far out.

Commercial campgrounds should be easier, but will require good lead time for reservations.

I use to just wing it, but I don't think I'd personally risk that under current conditions.

You don't mention where you're heading as that will have a lot of bearing on whether to risk no reservations. If you're going to Yellowstone, forget it, but if you're going to an out of the way place it might be more possible. (If you come to Phoenix in June you'll be fine without reservations surprise)

Some of my reservations are in very remote, less traveled areas, and I still struggled 6 months out getting the itinerary put together. I just lucked out on two nights in Moab at a commercial campground that were totally full previously and I must have hit some cancellations just right. What was shocking was how full these parks were in late Sept/Oct during the week. Times have changed.

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markjazzbassist's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 43 min ago
Joined: 12/14/2020 - 15:56
yes as greg has said the

yes as greg has said the pandemic has made national and state park reservations disappear as camping is booming now.  you need to either book 6 months in advance and set an alarm to register the minute it opens (know your site beforehand), or you are left with a crapshoot.  the path less traveled might be a better option as well, lesser known state or national parks might have availability.  i personally never do private campgrounds as they are usually just a plot of land with as many sites jammed in as possible to maximize revenue.  no actual space to enjoy the outdoors.  plus i'm all for helping fund the governmental programs the preserve and conserve the environment and not some rich guys pockets.  but i digress.

1987 Scamp 16

mengualj's picture
Last seen: 4 months 5 days ago
Joined: 07/07/2020 - 13:24
Thanks for suggestions

All great suggestions. Thank you so much. We're heading to Minn from CT first to get our new Scamp then West from there. We only want spots to sleep one night. We will see some National Parks but not stay there. On your suggestions, we'll check more for availability. We're heading to California via Montana and Oregon. Then South. We have two sons who live in LA. Then head East. Maybe through AZ and CO.  

Joe and Robin

Sunfish's picture
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 08/14/2020 - 21:47
X-country camping

Hi Robin and Joe.  You should be able to camp overnight at various places on your X-country trip.  Since you have done that before, you should have a idea of what to expect on your trip to CA but will probably need to plan more in advance now days.  There are many possible places:  Super Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, Target, Bass Pro Shops/Cabelas, Camping World, Highway Rest Areas, Truck Stops, and others.  You should call ahead to places and see if they allow overnight parking with a little travel trailer.  If you do some searching on the Internet, you will find more possibilities/ideas.  You can also go to business websites and get addresses and phone numbers for all their stores on your route.  Cracker Barrels are quite reliable.  We have stayed at Super Walmarts, but there seems to be fewer that welcome RVs now.  Some states, especially west of the Mississippi River will allow overnight parking in Rest Areas.  We have parked in Rest Areas many times in Iowa.  Many Rest Areas have signs that say "No Overnight Camping."  This usually means you can't pitch a tent.  But, if they allow over night parking by trucks, they will usually allow RVs, too.  I have never been "busted" but you could tell them that you were just too tired and sleepy to go farther.  They should be concerned about accidents from tired drivers.  We have stayed at a particular truck stop in Missouri but were asked to leave once.  It was probably by a new guy on the job.  You can possibly stay at some State Parks, which are off the main routes or have less scenic attractions.  In June, you might find a site in a state park on Monday to Thursday even though the park is booked up Friday to Sunday.  Most states have good websites so you can check for a vacancy and reserve it.  Have a great trip.  

Last seen: 1 week 1 hour ago
Lifetime Member
Joined: 03/01/2021 - 19:12
Cross country camping

Once you get west of the Mississippi River, camping opportunities become more plentiful.  Many small towns have camping available in their city parks, and it is often free or by donation. Some even have electrical hookups, water and dump stations.  You can find these "gems" on various apps such as Ultimate Campgrounds, Campendium, etc.  I never travel by interstate, so by taking the less traveled 2 lane highways, I have always found a place to stay for the night.  I don't do private campgrounds because they are nothing but crowded RV parking lots...and very expensive for what you get.  I've never stayed in a business parking lot such as Walmart because it is not for me.  I prefer National Forests or BLM land...which are plentiful in the western states.  Unless you are in a very touristy area, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding an overnight campsite without reservations.

mikael's picture
Last seen: 1 year 12 months ago
Joined: 06/06/2018 - 07:41
Carrying a generator?  Sure

Carrying a generator?  Sure comes in handy when boondocking away from those crowded, booked up campgrounds.

Michael and Jan