Browsing all articles tagged with camping Archives - Hammock Tree Straps

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.


Camping in Mexico for Beginners

Mexico is a huge country and offers camping in locations ranging from tropical beaches to pine mountain forests. Camping in Mexico is convenient for campers traveling by car since most sites are easily accessible by good roads. Road conditions are excellent though out the country especially since the government started work on the toll roads that traverse most of the country’s states now. Here are some of the best campgrounds in Mexico to consider when planning a Mexico vacation.

Camping Rancho San Nicolás in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

Located in a highland valley at 2,160 meters, San Cristobal has been a favorite destination for travelers to Chiapas for many years. Its quaint Spanish colonial architecture and large indigenous population makes it attractive for those seeking an authentic Mexico experience. San Cristobal has received modern day fame for being at the center of the Zapatista Revolution in the 1990’s. Although the streets are quiet today, the Zapatista culture is still proud and strong here, with shops and Mayan vendors selling Zapatista memorabilia.

Rancho San Nicolas is located on the outside of town but within walking distance from the historic center of town. Its natural setting among the forest pines is quiet and secluded despite its central location. It has a number of accommodation styles, from campsites to modern-style apartments. RV camping is available as well since they do offer some sites with electrical hook-ups. A communal kitchen is available for campers to use for a small additional daily fee.

Camping at Laguna Bacalar in the state of Quintana Roo

Quintana Roo is famous for being the home of tourist destinations such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Laguna Bacalar is a site off the beaten path located near the Belize border, about 5 hours south of Cancun. It is easily accessible by an exit off the Highway 307, outside of Chetumal.

Laguna Bacalar is a freshwater lake that has an amazing turquoise hue accented by a soft, white sand bottom. It is a low key destination where travelers can enjoy the Caribbean breezes while relaxing in a cool, fresh water lake. In addition, there is an old Spanish fortress located here, Fuerte San Felipe Bacalar, after which the lake was named. Just south of Laguna Bacalar is Cenote Azul, a 90 meter deep centoe that is excellent for swimming and snorkeling.

Camping at Laguna Bacalar is possible at the Los Quitos campsite right on the lake shore. RV camping is possible here but there are no dump sites or electrical hook-ups. There are a number of tourist services located in the small town of Bacalar, including hotels, restaurants and convenient stores. Chetumal is a short drive away and offers a wide range of tourist services and amenities.

Camping at the Bosque Village in the state of Michoacán

Located high in the mountains of Michoacán is the magical village of Patzcuaro. Here is a stronghold for the indigenous Purépecha culture of Mexico. Pine forests and the enchanting Lake Patzcuaro make it a wonderful destination for the traveler who wants to escape the tourist traps of Mexico.

The Bosque Village is a permaculture project on 82 acres of pine, oak and madrone forest 30 minutes outside of Patzcuaro. It is a fully off-the-grid site, with power coming from solar panels and water coming from a rain water collection system. Over 100 permaculture garden plots supply some of the food for the residents and visitors of the Bosque Village – the rest of the fruits and vegetables are bought from local suppliers.

The Bosque offers many activities and services. Classes are available in local crafts, tortilla making, and wood carving. There is a telescope to enjoy astronomy and a wood-fired sauna. Studio art classes are available, along with massages and classes, medicinal plant studies, a telescope for star gazing, and a traditional Maya sauna. Volunteers can study permaculture techniques while working in the gardens and attending to the grounds.

Visitors are welcome here, either as campers, guests in one of the cabins, or as volunteers. Campers can choose to camp near other campers or escape deep into the magical forest for a secluded retreat. Due to the nature of the site, the Bosque is only available for low impact camping and does not offer services for RV’s.

The Bosque Village asks that you contact them prior to visiting to ensure that they can accommodate you.


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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