What if I cannot reserve the campsite that I want?

As you are looking for a campsite to reserve, for your upcoming summer vacation, try to be flexible with the site you'll accept.  If you have certain requirements relative to the size, read the descriptions carefully on www.recreation.gov.  You may reserve a campsite up to 6 months before your arrival date.  Group sites may be reserved up to 1 year ahead.

Reservations typically run between mid-May through Labor Day; but that can vary by campground.  When a campground is open outside the reservation period, the campsites are available for first-come-first-served customers.  Even during the reservation period a portion of campsites are not reservable ahead of time.  During the reservation period, if a reservable campsite is not reserved, it is available for first-come-first-served customers if you check with the on-site Host.

Generally, reservations are recommended for camping between the 4th of July and Labor Day.

If the site you want is not available, there are usually other similar sites in the same campground.  You may also want to look in other, nearby, campgrounds.

Tips on searching Recreation.Gov and ReserveAmerica.com

If you do not know the campground name and are looking for any campground in a specific area of a certain state, the search features on ReserveAmerica are a little easier to use.

If you know the campground name and location, though, Recreation.Gov is easier to navigate. They both use the same database for the federal lands but ReserveAmerica also includes state and private parks if they contract with them.

Use the Search area on the left side to hone in on an area you'd like to see. In the Recreation.Gov Where? box you can type in the name of a state, National Forest, Ranger District or be as specific as the name of the campground. Whether or not you fill in any other fields, when you click the Search button a list of facilities are displayed in alphabetical order.

If you are looking, on Recreation.Gov, for all campgrounds in a certain area of a certain state and are not familiar with the forest and ranger district names, try using Google or Yahoo to find this information. Just entering a city in the "Where" box here will not get the results you need. Or you can use ReserveAmerica to enter a state and city to quickly find nearby campgrounds.

After you see a list of campgrounds, click on the campground names to read more about them and to see their availability schedule.

You may view available reservation dates by campsite using either of these methods to give you the most visibility as to your options.

1) Click on the Date Range Availability tab and scroll through the date by clicking Previous 2 Weeks or Next 2 Weeks. And scroll through the campsites by clicking Next (down-arrow) or Previous (up-arrow).

2) Enter an estimated Arrival date and Length of stay as 1 on the left under Find Sites and click the Search button. Then scroll through as described above.

You will be able to select your arrival date and length of stay based on what is available.

If all else fails, call 1-877-444-6777 to make your reservation over the phone.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, read your confirmation letter carefully to be sure the correct campground and campsite is reserved for you. There are many campgrounds with the same name in the US and even within a state.