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Making Camping Reservations in State and National Parks in the US

Park reservations can be made online, however a staff of qualified agents are a phone call away. These agents take reservations and can assist a customer in making them online. Since holding times for making reservations are long, being prepared to make a reservation saves time.

Some circumstances require making reservations while on the road. When doing so, try to pick a quiet place from which to make the call. Sitting on the beach may be a comfortable place to make the call, but wind noise can make accuracy difficult to achieve. Further, cell phone reception is often poor when camping and may not last long enough to complete the transaction in which case the process will have to be repeated.

Tips to Making Quick and Accurate Camping Reservations by Phone

  • Know the actual name of the campground/park.
  • Popular names often differ from the actual name.
  • Plan the trip and have alternate campground and/or dates in mind.
  • Consult maps of the campsite on line to pick the most desirable.
  • Prepare all contact Information.
  • Interagency Senior and Access Pass, or Golden Age Passport card number.
  • A credit card is required.
  • Paper and pencil.
  • Do not put the reservation agent on hold since the software may cancel the call.
  • Make the reservation several months or at least several weeks in advance.

Yosemite Camping Reservations

Obtaining reservations to any of the campgrounds in Yosemite National Park is difficult. If reservations are desired within the coming two months the best solution is to find a cancellation on line. Yosemite campsites go on sale the fifteenth of every month at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

  • All campgrounds sell out very quickly.
  • Establish an account online.
  • Search and reserve any site in any park.
  • Refresh the web browser often.
  • Do not get discouraged.

Online Camping Reservations

Making online reservations at a National or State Park is quicker than waiting for an agent on the phone. Although great effort has been made to make the process easy, many find the process confusing. Be sure to verify your choices before placing the order. If you make an error a fee will be charged to correct it when you call an agent to correct the error. The agent does not have the authority to waive a fee.

Either site requires an online account before a reservation can be made. Both sites will show availability, however they default to searching only for sites available for reservation. They will not show the first come first serve sites (designated by “W”) unless the search is adjusted to do so.

Clicking on the “Book Now” tab removes the campsite from available status to allow time to complete the reservation. After providing a credit card number, the screen will show the reservation number and an email confirmation will be sent within 48 hours. If no confirmation/reservation number appears on the screen the transaction has failed. The campsite will be returned to inventory in about a half hour.

Interagency Senior Pass

The Interagency Senior Pass is available to US citizens and permanent residents 62 and older. The pass allows a 50% discount on user fees such as camping, swimming, boating and guided tours.

Interagency Access Pass

Available to US citizens and permanent residents that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability regardless of age. There is no charge for Interagency Access Pass lifetime pass. The pass allows a 50% discount on the same user fees as the Senior Pass.

Increased demand for campsites required a reservation system to fairly allocate sites to everyone. Of the two ways to reserve a site the online option is quicker, however a phone call to the US based agents allow direct conversation and advice from a knowledgeable person.


A Guide for Planning an Extended Camping Trip: the Details

On some of these cold, rainy or snowy mornings, planning for a camping vacation can seem a bit far-fetched. However, spring is really not that far around the corner-honest. I offer a more detailed list of pre-trip preparations and suggestions. That long awaited camping vacation will go more smoothly, and with fewer worries, with some advanced planning.

Ready Your Vehicle

A month or so before hitting the road, get your tow vehicle or motorhome’s routine maintenance taken care of. If it is time for an oil change, tire rotation, alignment, brake check, wiper blades, transmission service and such, have them completed before your vacation begins. If you have been putting off some repair work, get those taken care of also. Just prior to departure, check your tire pressures fluid levels and lights. It’s a good idea to carry with you an extra quart of oil, a gallon of coolant, jumper cables, windshield washing solution, a first-aid kit and-if you have the room-a gallon of gasoline. Nothing can put a damper on a camping trip like auto troubles. It is also a wise idea to have some sort of emergency road service coverage. We have AAA and have had to use it! A wireless phone can also come in very handy for emergencies.

Pre-Trip RV Care

As with the tow vehicle, your trailer or RV should be inspected, and routine maintenance completed on it. My RV mechanic recommends checking the brakes and wheel bearings about every 5,000 miles. Many RV dealers have pre-trip maintenance packages that include servicing the refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner, stove and batteries. If your fresh water system has not been used over the winter, running a weak solution of vinegar through the pipes will serve as a disinfectant. (Be sure to flush thoroughly with fresh water before using.) If you have a generator, you may want to get that serviced. Finally, a good wash and wax job will get your “castle” looking sharp for the road.

Home Preparations

No one wants to leave on a long anticipated trip and then worry about their home all the while they are gone. There are a number of things you can do to give some peace of mind. My wife Pam and I have a neighbor who keeps an eye on our place. Our house sitter brings in our mail and newspapers and waters our plants. While away, we hire a lawn service to cut the grass. Tom, are wonderful sitter, checks to make sure they do their job. Also, when we had a cat, he would care for her. A house sitter is invaluable when you are on an extended camping trip!


Sea of Cortez RV Parks – Travel to RV Parks & Campsites in Mexico

The Sea of Cortez is a narrow gulf bordered to the west by Baja California and to the east by the coastline of northern Mexico. It’s famous for its sunshine, sandy beaches and the amazingly bountiful aquatic life. In fact, this is one of the premier fishing destinations in the world. The numerous small communities sprinkled along the shores of both sides are popular travel destinations for American “snowbirds” and their RVs. Drive-up camping sites, both with and without electricity or other utilities, have appeared over the last couple of decades in towns throughout the area to meet this need. A few of the best RV parks/campgrounds in this area are highlighted below.

Puerto Penasco, Mexico – The Reef RV Park at Sandy Beach

The Reef RV Park at Sandy Beach is a new RV park that offers full-size RV camping sites right on the beach in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. You can walk out of your RV and enjoy swimming, fishing or extended walks along the sandy shore. The Reef offers full RV amenities including water and sewer connections, 30- and 50-amp electrical hookups, and a dumping facility. Other services offered are 24-hour security, clean bathrooms with nice showers, a reasonably priced buffet, a store, free wireless Internet and laundry facilities.

There are a few other RV parks in Puerto Penasco including Playa de Oro RV Park, Playa Bonita RV Park, and Bonita RV Park.

Loreto, Mexico – Loreto Shores Villas and RV Park

A couple of hundred miles to the south, Loreto, Mexico is nearly two-thirds of the way down the Baja peninsula, and has turned from a sleepy fishing village into a growing resort area in the last few years. Loreto Shores Villas and RV Park is a quality RV park located in Loreto, offering direct access to the beach and all amenities. Loreto Shores RV Park has a huge 5-acre gated RV campground with 24-hour security, and provides Wi-Fi internet, and short- or long-term storage.

El Golfo, Mexico – El Golfo RV Park

El Golfo, at the northern tip of the Sea of Cortez and just 60 miles from Yuma Arizona, is another area that has developed into a thriving resort community and offers great fishing, snorkeling, hiking, and even ATV driving if that is your thing. El Golfo RV Resort has direct beach access, and is a full-service resort including a large pool and a cabana restaurant/bar. El Golfo also provides water and electricity hookups as well as dumping facilities for RVs.

Playa Hautabampito, Mexico – EL Mirador Hotel and RV Park

El Mirador RV Park is located in Playa Hautabampito, Mexico, not far from Los Mochis at the southern tip of the Sea of Cortez on the western coast of Mexico. El Mirador RV Park is a wonderful spot off the beaten track. You can park directly in front of an endless romantic beach with no other travelers around for miles and miles. El Mirador RV Park offers 40 RV hookups and 25 of these have 30-amp electrical connections. A nice palapa-style restaurant that offers fresh and tasty seafood daily is associated with the adjacent hotel. The Hautabampo region is famous for its big game fishing, especially during the late summer.


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