While outdoor lovers everywhere are likely rolling into springtime with a few awesome hikes, we understand if you’re happily distracted. Winter is nearly over. And, for those who prefer sunshine instead of snowfall on the trail, March is a very exciting time. That being said, let’s not forget that before you know it, summer will be here.
And, you know what that means! Time to start making your summer camping reservations, before others beat you to it.
Seems a little early, right? Wrong. Over the last few weeks, national parks and various state park systems have started opening their doors to summer camping reservations. And, you definitely don’t want to hold off. Nowadays, it’s quite rare to find places that you can just show up to and camp at.
But generally, if you’re looking for a few weekend dates over the summer you can bring the whole family to, it’s time to start making calls. Campsites at a majority of parks limit the numbers of reservations they take. A lot of this is because the environment needs to be protected and maintained. That’s hard to do when too many people are at the same place at once.
How Do I Make a Reservation?
There are several ways to make your summer camping reservations, and they are all fairly easy. One way is to go in person to the park’s visitor center and tell them the dates you want to reserve. If you plan on visiting a park that’s on the other side of the country, this probably won’t be an option for you. Luckily, many parks now have online reservation systems where you can book your dates right from your computer in the comfort of your home (or your tent, depending on where you are).
Not computer-savvy? (We’re not surprised…after all, the outdoors is where it’s at, right?) Then these parks also have a number you can call to book your reservation over the phone.
Restrictions and Exceptions
Some parks state that you can only make a reservation up to 90 days in advance. So, right now, you can’t book for a weekend in August, but you can start booking for May. Other parks may have different timelines or none at all, so it’s important to check before you book.
What If I Don’t Know My Summer Plans Yet?
While the kids may have off from school over the summer, it’s obviously not quite the same thing with adults. Trying to get time off of work or find days that coincide with the rest of the family can be really hard to figure out so early on.
The best advice we have is to come up with a potential date in mind, maybe even two. Reserve both dates, and if you need to change or cance one later on, most parks will charge a small fee to do so. Roughly around $10.00. Either way, talk to the people in charge and tell them what your concerns are. It’s likely you’re not the first person to experience the same situation, and they’ll advise you the best way they can.
Some parks will also let you call in a reservation the week of the trip. As long as they aren’t filled up, you should get a spot. However, you might not want to count on doing in this way if you have big plans for summer.