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Camping Tips

The Best Ways to Reserve Your Campsite Online

Or at least improve your chances!

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 and online reservation systems, which handle most of the national and state parks, as well as other campgrounds throughout the USA.

1. determining the reservation window

The first step is to determine what day the reservation window opens for your future arrival dates. For state parks (handled by 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 (, 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

2. Researching your campsite and cueing up your reservation

  • Some time before 8:00 AM PST (on the first day the reservation window opens up) go to and search through the campsite photos of the campground you'd like to make a reservation.
  • Once you've picked your campsite (and no later than 7:45 AM PST) - click on the "MAKE A RESERVATION" button that is displayed below the photo of the campsite you want to try and reserve. This will direct you to the correct agency ( or and the specific campground you are viewing on
  • Fill in your campsite #, arrival date and how long you want to stay (# of days). To improve your chances of getting any campsite on the dates you'd like to arrive/stay - do not select a specific campsite #.
  • At exactly 8:00 AM (PST) click 'Search'. Another tip is to open another browser window with an online clock that has 'seconds' so you know exactly when it hits 8:00 AM PST.
  • Wait. Wait until you see a message that your selection is available or not. If available, then continue on with the process to confirm your reservation. If the site you selected is booked - quickly see what else is available (on the campground map) and grab it! Chances are that the campground will sell out within minutes.

It's as "easy" as that!


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