How to find a spot in a full campground [YES, YOU CAN!]

 How to find a spot in a full campground [YES, YOU CAN!]

Where there’s a will, there is a way and we’re here to tell you that you CAN find a spot in a full campground! We have some nice insider tips to pass along.

In these days of record-setting RV sales and rentals and full campgrounds, if you are trying to find a spot can be a very challenging task. Campgrounds across North America have never been so full and never so busy. 

Even then planning trips months in advance, RVers are finding it all but impossible to get a reservation!

I think we can help.

Here are three websites that help you find a spot in a full campground:

Find a spot in a full campground with YesYouCamp.com

The site has been around the longest and claims that 92% of their users are able to get reservations at sold-out campgrounds.

Basically you are supposed to enter the details of where and when you want to camp, and then the site, which claims to be constantly scanning camp space availability, says it will send you a text when there is a cancellation or a site opens up.

It is then up to you to swoop in and make a reservation.

list of sold our campsites
As you can see with this search of some of our favorite Michigan campgrounds, so many campsites are full these days and have no vacancies. That’s why web services have developed to help you find a spot in a full campground

I’m a bit skeptical. When we recently tried to get into two of the Michigan Upper Peninsula campgrounds we like – the Munising Tourist Park on Lake Superior and the Straits State Park in St. Ignace – the site showed them in the initial listings but had no way to sign up for an alert or even discover availability.

I tried the same thing with the Kentucky Horse Park Campground in Lexington, KY and it didn’t even display in the listings.

These are all extremely popular campgrounds. I have no idea why they didn’t show up.

YesYouCamp requires a subscription. I spent 10 minutes trying to find out how much it was before giving up. 

Where I found it most helpful was in listing a bunch of other campgrounds in the area. In fact, I found a whole bunch of campgrounds that I didn’t even know were there. Most were primitive and remote, with no hookups. But that’s our preferred way to camp anyway.

Find a spot in a full campground with Campnab

This is the site we had the best luck with, though it was not perfect, and took some digging around to even find a listing for the campgrounds we were looking for.

It is particularly geared for Canadian campgrounds.

Like the others, there is a fee structure (see the charts).

photo of fee structure of campbab that helps RVers find a spot in a full campground
The fee structure of Campnab that helps RVers find a spot in a full campground

Here’s how the site says it works:

“You fill in the form, noting your camping preferences. You also provide your mobile phone number, preferred scan/plan, and payment information. Once complete, we scan your selected park for a cancellation. If one comes available we send you a text message so you can nab it.”

I found it best to search under campgrounds, then the state I wanted. Then I’d bring up the campgrounds I was interested in and click on them. 

Find a spot in a full campground with Campsite Assist

This service is part of a larger website called CampsitePhotos.com

It’s pretty new and I found it to be pretty cumbersome. It didn’t do well finding the sites we used in our test. The service notes it scans for canceled campsites on ReserveCalifornia.com, Recreation.gov (all National Parks, USFS campgrounds, and other federal campgrounds), and ReserveAmerica.com (various State Parks).

Here’s a note on the website that explains perhaps why I couldn’t find the Michigan spots I was looking for:

 “We will be expanding and adding additional reservation systems for Washington, Colorado, Texas, Michigan, Maryland, several County Park campgrounds, KOA, and others. And in the very near future, we will add campgrounds in Canada.”

There is a one-time scanning fee charge of from $5 to $15, depending on the continuous scanning time (3, 13, or 33 minutes) you selected. It will then send you a text notification when it finds a cancellation. Then you have to call and make your reservation dealing directly with the campground.

More tips on how to find a spot in a full campground

The question recently appeared on our private RV Lifestyle Facebook Group. Here are some of the answers filed by members

Melanie wasn’t a big believer in website services that claim to help users find a spot in a full campground. She wrote: “Point is I will verify availability with the source instead of 3rd party programs/companies that may be outdated, behind.”

Mark, though, said he has used such services, and “it has helped us get sites on several occasions.”

Judy suggests: “I’ve found both federal and state park reservation sites can be filtered to show only available camps within a search area. Use recreation.gov for federal. You’ll have to Google which state you want to check.”

Peter says he finds sites by “Google maps, search for “campgrounds near [location]”

Bottom line… try those services if you want. But based on our experience, don’t count on them being 100% accurate.  

But if you don’t mind the scan fees and maybe having to dig deep down on these websites to find the specific places you are interested in, they indeed can help you find a spot in a full campground.

Good luck… and Happy Trails!

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast, and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. 

Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.

2 Comments

  • Mike & Jennifer,
    Thanks for the tips. We managed to snag campsites for next week at St. Ignace KOA and Munising/Pictured Rocks KOA. There were few to be had, so we feel fortunate.
    Heading west toward the Porcupine Mountains, we found no sites available, except for Presque Isle. Not sure we’re ready for that!
    We’ll use your digital RV Guide to the UP for our adventure, as well as Harvest Hosts for a couple of nights.
    Stay safe — and see you on the road!
    Jen & Reb
    Troy

  • If you continue, it looks like YesYouCamp is $39 a month for unlimited check every 5 minutes text option.

    Single text requests are $12, 24, or 48 depending on how often they check (5-30 minutes). They don’t charge until at least one becomes available.

    They even have a free email option that checks every 4-6 hours.

    The website definitely looks like a sketchy website if a UX designer wants to cold call them!

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