As anyone who has ever tried it knows, reserving a campsite online at any of the popular campgrounds is about as tough as getting tickets to the Masters, Olympics or Super Bowl. This is especially true on popular weekends or during the summer.
After countless attempts and years of trying, we've come up with a few tips that may just help you reserve a campsite during the high season. These tips are for the ReserveAmerica.com and Recreation.gov online reservation systems, which handle most of the national and state parks, as well as other campgrounds throughout the USA.
The first step is to determine what day the reservation window opens for your future arrival dates. For state parks (handled by ReserveAmerica.com) that date is the first day of the month (at 8:00 AM PST), 6 months in advance. For example, if you were planning on an arrival date in August, the first day you could make a reservation is on February 1.
For campgrounds managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service (except Yosemite - see below), Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and USDA Forest Service (Recreation.gov), campsite reservations can be booked beginning 6 months in advance of your first day of arrival. For example, to book a campsite for July 4, you may make your reservation beginning January 4. Group campsite reservations can be made 12 months in advance. Yosemite National Park has a different reservation window schedule (online or by telephone) as shown in the table below.
|If you call on or make online reservations on:||You can make Yosemite NP reservations for arrival dates between:|
|January 15th||January 16th and June 14th|
|February 15th||February 16th and July 14th|
|March 15th||March 16th and August 14th|
|April 15th||April 16th and September 14th|
|May 15th||May 16th and October 14th|
|June 15th||June 16th and November 14th|
|July 15th||July 16th and December 14th|
|August 15th||August 16th and January 14th|
|September 15th||September 16th and February 14th|
|October 15th||October 16th and March 14th|
|November 15th||November 16th and April 14th|
|December 15th||December 16th and May 14th|