Trouble Booking a Campground? You’re Not Alone

Finding a vacancy in a campground is five times tougher now than in 2019.
Camping sites are full up much of the time.
Good luck finding a place to lay your head at the nation’s campgrounds. Pixabay

Finding an available campground in 2022 was roughly five times more difficult than it was in 2019, according to The Dyrt, the top app for camping information and reservations. The 2023 Camping Report claims that 2018 was the most booked-up year ever, with camping availability being twice as low as it was in 2021.

“I tried to book a campsite as far out as possible for an event. I set an alarm and even then, when I logged in and tried to book, the sites were already taken,” says The Dyrt camper Clair Jones of Colorado. “It felt like trying to buy concert tickets!”

Only 10.6% of respondents in 2019 reported it was difficult to find a place to book since all available rooms were taken. By 2022, that percentage had risen to 58.4. More than 80 million people camp in the United States, according to the Camping Report, an increase of 15.5 million over the previous two years.

“I tried numerous times to book a site — any site — just a month or so in advance, but there were no campsites available until months later,” says The Dyrt camper Rachel Pennington-Smith of Georgia.

Private landowners and administrators of camping facilities around the nation are expanding their capacity, adding days, and providing new forms of camping in response to the boom. According to the study, 35.7 percent of property managers will increase the number of campsites in 2022, and 18.6 percent will increase their calendars. Additionally, 46.6 percent indicated they would boost rates in 2022, and 46.4 percent said they would do the same in 2023. 44 percent of property managers who choose to add a new camping option added glamping.

“Because we have to book a year in advance just to get a spot, it makes it difficult to move your reservation if something comes up and you have to change your plans,” says The Dyrt camper Jennifer Kincaid of Virginia. “I’ve had to move a trip to a state park three times. Unfortunately most of the dates we now have available, they have no spots.”

While campgrounds are fully booked and sold out, cancellations are common. Recently, The Dyrt introduced The Dyrt Alerts, which are availability scans that send text messages when a campground that has been booked to capacity experiences a cancellation. Campers choose up to five campgrounds that are sold out, pick the dates, and are texted when a cancellation occurs.

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