Camping Nightmare! America’s Campgrounds are “Sold Out Already” According to Famous RV YouTuber
A few seconds into John & Mercedes Condon’s latest YouTube video, this famous RV couple states the cold, hard truth. Known as the RV Odd Couple, the Condons are known for telling it like it is.
In the recent video, Mercedes starts by saying, “I bet you can’t wait to go camping this year.”
John’s direct realization follows, “Good luck, guys! ‘Cause America’s pretty much sold out already.”
Is this true? Are most of the campgrounds in America sold out?
Well, while we know there’s still availability (in Kansas, maybe), the tourist hot spots are booking quicker than ever this year.
We’ve got a few tips to solve this problem. The RV Odd Couple does, too! Watch the video below for John & Mercedes tips and continue reading for ours.
Between the two of us, you’ll be in a much better spot for booking those popular campsites.
Visit one of the many Lesser-Known National Parks
The USA has 63 designated national parks. I can almost guarantee you haven’t heard of half of them.
And, that’s a good thing!
That means these National Parks won’t be swamped with tourists.
Sure, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, the Grand Canyon, the Smokies, and Acadia are probably already booked-out for this year. But have you heard of Isle Royale, Congaree, Voyageurs, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, or Mesa Verda?
If you visit one of these five lesser-known National Parks, you’ll have a much better chance of finding an available campsite.
Book Your Campsite During the Shoulder Season
If you really want to visit a popular camping spot, do it during the shoulder season.
What is a Shoulder Season?
A shoulder-season positioned is on either side of the most popular time to visit a destination. For instance, if the Yellowstone is busiest from May-August, the shoulder season would be April and September.
The weather is still good, and the crowds are much less.
You’ll have more luck booking a campsite during the shoulder-season!
Risk it at an FCFS Campground
Are you the gambling type? If so, an FCFS (first come, first served) might be the best solution for you.
Almost every National Park has a designated FCFS campground. This means it doesn’t accept reservations at all.
If you learn the cadence of tourists, you can make FCFS campgrounds work for you. Most likely, you’ll have to arrive on a Sunday morning when most campers are leaving.
If you wait until mid-day on Sunday, other campers may already snag the site.
Does this entire article give you a headache? If so, be like us and say screw it!
We love boondocking because we don’t need reservations. And, virtually every National Park has boondocking sites available within 10 miles.
You’ll need to equip your RV with a few off-grid accessories. But, the payoff is total freedom.
Pro Tip: Here’s the best boondocking spots near the most popular National Parks.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:
Hi! Great article and I appreciate your posts. We have a popup camper and would like to try boondocking at some point. Can you direct me to a good article by you or someone else on the basic gear (esp. if affordable) I would need to successfully boondock?
FYI, folks, it’s Mesa Verde, not Verda. 😁
We always enjoy your posts and YouTube’s. We’ve been following along for years, but never comment. I will say that this article sparked me to say, unless you want to be tied to reservations and lousy spots that are the leftovers, boondocking is the way to go. However, 2020 proved that’s what many, many others are doing, and we are finding some of our favorite spots either full, full of trash, trodden down, or wake up to someone camped “in our driveway” who don’t consider boundaries, or the “code” for boondocking respectfully. The nature of finding a sweet secluded spot away from others is fast disappearing! My hope is that through talking about it on forums like yours, we can help to educate rather than shame those who may be new to this lifestyle. With everyone I meet I try to observe and chime in with a tip or two in a kind and helpful way. It’s up to us old timers to share what we have learned and be proactive in helping to groom others that may need a helping hand. I’d hate to see more of our public lands being shut down over abuse issues. Cheers! Suzi
We’ve been out in our RV since the Tampa Show and have found few booking problems in Florida, Texas and the rest of the Southeast.
We’ve had no problems and have booked our stays through October. We stay just outside of the more popular areas and have found that we see lots of unexpected sites as well as the more popular.
If you stop thinking you have to be “in the middle of it all” there’s some great places to see…
Wow. a instead of e? (or e instead of a?) HUGE deal – not.
We just got a reservation for Fiesta Key in April, on of the two hardest Encore/Thousand Trails campgrounds. On the road since January before the Tampa Show and we’re not seeing the inability to get reservations. We are planned out through Otcober 12.