The reservation window for camping or lodging reservations opens six months in advance from your arrival date. For example, if you want to reserve a campsite starting on July 7, you’d make your reservation 6 months to the day prior, or on January 7. If you want to arrive on July 15, then you’d try to make your reservation on January 15th, and so forth. Your reservation could be for as many consecutive days as the park allows.
There are two ways you can make your reservation at California State Parks:
For most National Parks, a campsite can also be booked 6 months in advance (from the arrival date). So, if you want to arrive August 4th, you’ll want to make your reservation on February 4th starting at 7:00 a.m. (PST) or 10 a.m. (EST) – and remember to do the time zone math ahead of time!.
Notable exceptions include (but are not limited to) Yosemite National Park. So make sure to double check when the reservation window opens for Recreation.gov campgrounds.
|ARRIVAL DATES||RESERVATIONS OPEN (7 a.m. PST / 10 a.m. EST)|
|Jan 15 – Feb 14||Sept 15|
|Feb 15 – Mar 14||Oct 15|
|Mar 15 – Apr 14||Nov 15|
|Apr 15 – May 14||Dec 15|
|May 15 – Jun 14||Jan 15|
|Jun 15 – July 14||Feb 15|
|Jul 15 – Aug 14||Mar 15|
|Aug 15 – Sept 14||Apr 15|
|Sep 15 – Oct 14||May 15|
|Oct 15 – Nov 14||Jun 15|
|Nov 15 – Dec 14||July 15|
|Dec 15 – Jan 14||Aug 15|
You can make your reservation online or by phone for National Parks:
As pointed out earlier, trying to get a campsite reservation is very competitive, but fear not – the staff at CampsitePhotos.com has spent years practicing and fine-tuning their skills and we’d like to pass along our campsite reservation tips!
If you’re trying for dates that are not yet released, go through the process above and then click through the calendar to your arrival date. In the example below, we want to arrive July 26th (the reservation window will open January 26th at 8 a.m. PST). However, it is important to check to see what campsites are available the day before the reservation window opens (in this case on January 25th)! As shown below (checking on January 25th), there is one (campsite #10), and maybe more that are available for a July 26th arrival.
Here is where it gets exciting. On the day reservations are available (January 26 example above), login about 20 minutes prior to 8 a.m. (PST). Then go through the same steps/process and end up at the screen shown above. Also, open another tab on your monitor that displays a clock ticking by the second. At 7:59:59 CLICK ON THE DATE (July 26) of the available campsite (see below).
If you’re quick enough – a screen will open asking you to confirm your not a robot and to ‘Book Now’. If you miss out, continue to go back and check for available campsites. On occasion, people may have booked multiple sites and will be cancelling the ones they don’t want.
Go to Recreation.gov and login to your account about 20 minutes prior to 7:00 a.m. (PST).
Find your campground and have the ‘Availability Grid’ highlighted. This shows available campsites by date. Click on the ‘Check In’ box and advance through calendar to see available dates. Click on a date to reserve if date you want is available (see example below).
If you are going for a date not yet released (NR), then the process is similar to reserving a site for California State Parks. Have your campground and dates all cued up and ready to go about 20 minutes before 7:00 a.m. (PST).
At 1 second before the reservation window opens click the “RESERVE” button and wait to see if there is availability. If so – get after it! If you have multiple windows open – start with the first window and click 1 second prior, then go to the next and next (clicking on the RESERVE button). You can also try for the same campsite or have different campsites chosen for each window. If you get a campsite, the website will take you through the payment process.
If you don’t get your campsite, then keep checking for other campsites and click to reserve if available. All sites at popular campgrounds will sell out within minutes. If the campground sells out – try Campsite Assist to get alerts when a site becomes available in the campground and dates you choose.
Hope this is of some help in your adventures of trying to reserve a campsite. Please leave a comment, question or other suggestions. And also let us know if you were able to get a campsite!
Regards, Park Ranger