Camping, Others, Road Trip

How do you book campsites in National Parks America?

If you want to spend the night in a National Park during your trip through the USA, it is advisable to reserve your camping pitch well in advance. Also if you are traveling outside the high season. Reserving a spot in a National Park… how do you do that exactly?


 

Reserving a spot in a American National Park is through the website www.recreation.gov.

Why reserve?

Campsites in national parks are quickly full. These camping pitches are located in beautiful places, often in the middle of nature. Because the facilities are simple, your overnight stay is relatively cheap: around $ 18-30 per vehicle per night. Americans and tourists know their place to find these campsites soon. Read our blog about useful things to know about campsites.

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When should you reserve?

Usually you can book campsites in national parks a half year in advance through recreation.gov (government website). On January 1st you can book until arrival on July 1st. On January 2 you can make a reservation for the night from 2 to 3 July. And so on, and so on… Yellowstone and Yosemite are exceptions. The campsites in Yellowstone are not managed by the National Park Service / government and therefore different rules apply: you can usually reserve from May for the summer afterwards. In Yosemite, the camping spots are available every fifteenth of the month for arrival 4 to 5 months later. A true run is created on camping pitches. Make sure you are well prepared and take advantage of our tips on camping reservations in Yosemite. We recommend to always reserve campsites in national parks. If you want to be assured of a place, book as early as possible. The campsites are very popular and almost always fully booked, especially during the summer holidays and weekends.

 

The camp site in the national park is full, what to do?

There are plenty of alternative campsites outside the national parks. These campsites have more facilities (think of wifi, swimming pool) and are therefore slightly more expensive. These campsites all use their own reservation procedure. Check the website of the relevant campsites for more information. Or find your beste camping spots here…

 

Step by step: reserving campsites

Below you can read how to book campsites in national parks through www.recreation.gov

create an account

  • Go to www.recreation.gov
  • Create an account once by clicking on ‘Sign In or Sign Up’ at the top right of your screen.
  • In the screen that appears, click on ‘Continue’ and enter your name and address details. You also choose a password.

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Find a campsite

  • Go back to the home page of www.recreation.gov
  • Type in the middle bar where you are looking for a campsite. For example: Zion National Park and click on the yellow button Search.
  • A new screen appears (see photo below). Click on Camps in the left menu.
  • One or more campsites will now appear, depending on the location chosen. For example, in Yosemite there are several campsites, in Zion there is only one. You select a campsite by clicking on the yellow Check Availability button. Note that the name of the National Park where you want to sleep is below the campsite name (see orange framed in the photo below)

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Choose a camping pitch

  • Fill in the left menu under Availability on which day you arrive at the campsite and when you leave (see left photo below).
  • In the same menu you select the option RV sites at Looking for.
  • Scroll down a bit. At the bottom of the menu is Length (ft). Here you enter the length of your camper, measured in feet. Then click on Search
  • A table with camping pitches now appears next to the menu (see right picture below). In this table you will find information about the camping pitch. For example, where the camping site is located on the campsite (eg Loop A or Loop B), how big the camper can be at this place (Equip Length / Driveway) and what facilities (Amenities) the place possibly has.
  • Do you have a preference for a seat in front or at the back of the campsite? Then click on the blue icon with ‘Map’ (see right picture). You will see a map of the campsite. From the map you can select a place by clicking on a blue icon. If you have chosen a campsite, choose Enter Date
  • Does not it matter which camping pitch you get? Then click on See Details behind a random pitch. Note: Always choose a place that is large enough for your motorhome! The length is in the column Equip length / Driveway.

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Reserve a pitch

  • If you have chosen a camping pitch, a small table appears with data and different letters. A yellow ‘A’ means that the place is available on the dates you have chosen. A gray ‘R’ shows that the place is already reserved. An ‘X’ means that the camping pitch can not (yet) be reserved at the desired date.
  • Check carefully that the completed arrival date is correctly filled in and that the number of nights (Length of stay) is correct.
  • Is all information correct and is the place available? Then click on the orange button with Book these Dates.

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Pay and confirm

  • Fill in Primary Equipment with what kind of vehicle you come, probably this is RV / Motorhome. Then enter how long your vehicle is in feet, for example 25 or 30.
  • Enter the number of people you enter at Number of Occupants. At Number of Vehicles you indicate whether you are traveling with an extra vehicle, for example a car or motorcycle next to your camper. Do you only travel with a camper? then enter: 0.
  • Scroll down and put a check mark in front of ‘Yes, I have read and understand this important information’
  • Check all the information you have entered once again. Is it correct and do you want to continue the reservation? Then click Continue to Shopping Cart.
  • You will then see a confirmation screen. Your reservation is now held for a quarter of an hour. The reservation becomes final as soon as you click Checkout Shopping Cart.

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Shopping Cart

  • Enter your credit card details. Select your type of card, enter the card number and the security code. Also state when your credit card expires.
  • Is all information correct? Then put a check mark in front of ‘Yes, I have read and accept the above acknowledgment’ and click on Complete this Purchase.
  • You will now receive an e-mail confirming your reservation. The final payment is made via your credit card company.

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