“Win” Sold-Out Campground Reservations Using One Of These 4 Tools

PublishedMarch 31, 2021

First off, let me be perfectly clear:

When I say "win", I mean SCORE. You'll still pay for your camping reservation. But without trying these camping reservation tools, you may not have a camping spot at all.

RV or tent camping should be fun, not stressful. Yet, when you have to make campground reservations, stress levels can spike after finding one after another sold-out campground.

(Stop breeding, people!!!)

(LOL)

RV park full of RVs at the base of mountains

If you want the good places, the popular spots, you have to make them WAY ahead of your stay date.

Yep, the popular/best campgrounds are sold out WAY in advance. Sometimes by a year!

Can you say 'spontaneous trip'? No, you cannot. Not if you want to stay in some of the best/most popular places.

So what can you do if you procrastinate or you are unable to plan that far ahead?

You only need to know the secret to getting alerted as soon as someone cancels their reservation.

Savior Camping Websites To The Rescue

A couple sitting in chairs in front of Class A RV

If you don't know about these websites, you just landed on the greatest invention for campground-stayers since, well, maybe since RV refrigerator bars were invented?

I mean, getting automatically alerted when there's a cancellation?

Um, genius! That's why I call it a 'win.'

In truth, I thought I had sort of 'insider information' with one of these websites, as I know the people that developed it. They told a group of us about it when it launched, back around 2015.

It seemed like the most incredible secret ever, though I never used it, as I don't stay in campgrounds.

I thought it was the only website of its kind until I did my research for this article. It turns out I found four different websites!

(And there may be more.)

What Do These Camping Reservation Websites Do?

In essence, they find you available spots in sold-out campgrounds.

How?

Put in a 'scan' with one of the sites, and they will check the reservation website for any cancellations. If they find one, they send you a message informing you of the opening.

EASY-PEASY!

This keeps you from hanging out on a reservation website and clicking 'refresh' for hours to try to catch an opening from someone canceling.

How Do The Websites Work?

Glacier National Park sign

The websites use coding that 'scrapes' the reservation website every X minutes, looking for openings for what you requested.

 Know that these four websites don't necessarily check the same reservation systems.

For example, Wandering Labs only used to work with state parks that use popular ReserveAmerica.com and Recreation.gov reservation sites.

But now, they also scrape a few other reservation systems. But not ALL systems.

And they are in the process of adding more.

You can set specific parameters if you wish, such as only scanning for specific site numbers, only scanning sites with 50 amp power, etc.

Pins marking location on old map

You can try at least one of them for free (Wandering Labs). They only ask for a donation of your choice. You don't have to donate.

However, if you donate, the site will check for cancellations 2x as often, and you get unlimited requests.

So, simple as the concept is, these sites can save you hours and a less-than-stellar vacation landing pad!

Do They Check Every Campground In Existence?

Well, no.

5th wheel trailer camping on the coast

You have to know what campground you want to stay in before making an attempt to reserve.

Then, check each site to see if they scrape the reservation system that that campground uses.

OR know what area you want to be in. If you can't find a campground in that area with open sites, then look for campgrounds in the area using one of the 4 websites.

State parks are going to be one of the biggest percentages of campground types scanned by these websites.

Do They Make The Campground Reservation For Me?

Nope. The action part is on you.

Once you're informed about an opening, you'd better be quick to make the reservation.

Best to keep the reservation website window open to that particular reservation page for quick and easy access.

Why? Because you'll be competing with other people using these campground reservation websites.

They are also looking for the same campground reservation opening at the same time.

So you're best off if you are available to make your camping reservation immediately.

Fifth wheel trailer at campground in the mountains

What Are The Four Websites?

Welp, in no particular order, they are:

Yes, those are clickable links, and they will take you to the sites.

The follow-through is very simple: 

  • Click on one of the four websites above
  •  Follow their directions
  • Get your notification of an opening
  • Jump to make that campground reservation for your vacation.

What a life-saver when you have to make camping plans, but there are no reservations available at your campground or resort!

Conclusion

Don't you just LOVE things like this that make life easier???

I can't think of a better way to end the frustration of finding your favorite campground sold out. (Well, seeing that your favorite boondocking spot is full may be worse than that for yours truly, lol!)

This is a fantastic way to save you from missing out on a camping vacation.

It's worth it. Some may have a very nominal fee, but do you honestly have time to sit in front of your computer clicking 'refresh' in hopes of finding a random cancellation?

Me, either.

Yer welcome.    ; )

Kelly Headshot

He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona. 

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  • Whoo hoo! Oh, my goodness, Kelly, this worked like a charm!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!
    We are currently staying at a state park in CO, with reservations that I had to work long and hard to get. After reading this article, I signed onto Wandering Labs, and within 1 hour, it had found TWO possible places! This was the most timely article I have ever read of yours, and I am looking forward to using the Wandering Labs app whenever we run into a roadblock on our travels. We DO plan ahead, and we try to make our reservations as far in advance as we can, but…sometimes our plans change unexpectedly, so this is PERFECT for those times. Thank you, thank you, thank you…!

    • Woo-hoo!!! Welp, I’m very happy you found it helpful! Colorado reservations are notoriously difficult to get. So these tools for sure help a ton. Yay, so happy we could help you out!

  • The only problems, of course, are all those reservation bots out there, proliferating like crazy, to take any and all openings much faster than any human can respond, only to offer them elsewhere at a much-inflated price. The secondary problem is those fake reservations end up not being used – after all, no bot has any plan on driving anywhere – and the campsite/space remains unpaid and vacant, much to the frustration of the owners and campers wanting to fill them.

    • Hi James,

      Thank you for your input. The sites I listed do not reserve spots at all. They simply notify you when a reservation has come available. It’s then up to the human to go to the official website and find and make that available reservation.

      So I’m not sure how people can be profiting by grabbing up sites using bots and selling them. Are they websites that you can go to to make a reservation from one of the bots that took the reservation?

      If so, I’m curious to see what they are and how they work. Most campgrounds only allow reservations to be made through their one reservation system. So I’m wondering how someone could offer a reservation at these campgrounds ‘elsewhere’ and ‘at a much-inflated price’, especially as most campground reservation systems require payment up front. This would mean the bots would have to pay for their scooping up of a reservation as well. Not sure how that would work.

      Where might these reservations be made available after a bot purchased? There would have to be a place, or there would be no reason for anyone to pay to scoop up reservations. I’m genuinely curious to know.

      Thank you for commenting and looking forward to your reply!

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