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Reserve California

CampsitePhotos.com Forums Camping Reserve California

This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Camp Ranger 7 months, 1 week ago.

  • Creator
  • #134735

    Camp Ranger
    Camper In Training

    Hey Campers,
    We’ve been hearing quite a bit about ReserveCalifornia and all the problems with its reservation system. In fact, 100% of those who have contact CampsitePhotos.com have said they have not been able to get a reservation. A few thought they had a reservation, but were bumped out when trying to confirm. Others were able to get a reservation, but it wasn’t for the campground they chose. And most just get the ‘no sites available’ message. There’s also the issue of ‘bots’ – or companies that are using super fast computers to grab multiple campsites and then reselling at a very high fee.

    What’s your experience and/or thoughts on all of this?

    FYI – CampsitePhotos will soon be doing a survey on our Facebook page and we will take the results to both ReserveCalifornia and California State Parks.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
  • #134778

    Camper In Training

    I was quite adept at booking in CA via ReserveAmerica and would be able to secure weekend reservations at least a couple times a year during high season . Since the move to California owned website I have not been able to get a weekend booking no matter how early I login or how carefully I track the starting date. The only way to get a Friday Saturday is to book starting on Wednesday and multiple nights you’ll never use. Then occasionally when I can get started with a weekend, the site times out or gives me inventory not available .

    I also really dislike the flying map graphics, slow and unnecessary.

    I’d be ready for any petition! I need my CA state parks to remain accessible.


    Camp Ranger
    Camper In Training

    That sounds familiar cgipson. My family had it down pretty good with ReserveAmerica (having a few people on the computers come reservation time) and we were usually successfully each year, but no luck this year with Reserve California.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Camp Ranger.

    Camp Ranger
    Camper In Training

    We have a poll up on the CampsitePhotos Facebook page regarding whether you’ve been successful at getting campsite reservations with ReserveCalifornia. Please check it out HERE and cast your vote. The poll ends February 27. Thank you!


    Camper In Training

    I am new to this site so please forgive me if I am not posting correctly.
    For 10 years we have camped at South Carlsbad State Park during Christmas. We reserved our sites with little problem.
    It looks like it will be impossible this year as so far it is totally booked and unavailable even during the first week of December. I spoke with a rude young man at Reserve California who told me people find it a fair system and are willing to pay for it! His name was Josh by the way.
    Any suggestion would be welcome. I refuse to pay the First Choice fee. I read on this site about a class action suit, please let me know if that is truly happening.
    Thank you.


    Camper In Training

    I just reserved at a campground near Big pine CA. Baker creek or Baker Springs….??? cant remember. Anyway I paid for 3 nights with reserve america for July 2. I cancelled an hour later. This was June 29. They charged me the whole $42 dollars penalty and cancel fee of 10.00 and the orginal booking fee of 7.00 . Total $59.00 I have a protest in Less than 48 hour cancel. WTF

    Any thoughts. I cancelled in less than 2 hours


    Camp Ranger
    Camper In Training

    Hi HansJames,
    Sounds like it is Baker Creek Campground next to Big Pine California. If so, you used ReserveAmerica.com to make your reservations. Generally they are pretty quick on the refund. I would access your account, check status of your reservations and see if they refunded your credit card.


    Camper In Training

    Thanks for the reply. They said on receipt Penalty for cancelling $42.00. Not really fair as I cancelled way before 48 hours Made reservation on June 29 and cancelled shortly thereafter. I will wait until tomorrow to see what happens

    Reservation #: 2-1352602
    Arrival Date: Mon Jul 02 2018
    Check-in: 1:00 pm
    State: California
    Site, Loop: 026, Baker Creek Campground
    Campsite Details
    Reservation Type: Overnight
    Departure Date: Thu Jul 05 2018
    Check-out: 10:00 am
    Campground: Baker Creek Campground, CA
    Campground Details
    Site Type: Standard Non-Electric
    Reservation Detail
    # of Occupants: 2(min: 1, max: 6)
    Primary Equipment: Tent
    # of Vehicles: 1(max: 2)
    Refund Details
    Cancellation Penalty:$42.00
    Reservation Fee:$17.00
    Amount Paid:$(59.00)


    Camp Ranger
    Camper In Training

    Wow – that sounds like an awfully high cancelation penalty Reserve California charges.
    Good luck!


    Camper In Training

    We are looking for solutions to the issues with reserving camp sites at South Carlsbad state beach with the reservecalifornia website. We have contacted the state parks and they forward our emails to reservecalifornia, but there is no further communication. So we are looking for workarounds to these pressing issues:

    1) The ‘furthest available date’ interface does not work. A staffer told us the site should respond with today’s date at 8am, but it never responds. At 8am the site seems to be overloaded (probably by bots) and all sites are booked by 8:01am. I was able to manually change the date at 8:05am today, but all the sites were booked. We have been booking sites at south carlsbad for 20 years and the current reservation system interface has never been this bad for humans. Some pages have the ‘furthest date’ option and others do not. Can someone explain how this ‘furthest date’ interface should work for humans?

    2) reservecalifornia must be bot-free. I have several decades of software engineering experience and question the human vs. bot and stress testing which reservecalifornia has engineered. Humans can’t compete with bots unless we have a one-click interface. I see no other option than to temporarily shutdown the on-line interface until reservecalifornia is engineered to be bot-free. At least the phone interface is fair. Are there other solutions?

    We’ve enjoyed south carlsbad sb and the state parks system for 20 years, but the resevecalifornia system is now a roadblock for humans. It looks like we will need to resort to 3rd party services to get a reservation this year. I see no terms of use on the site to prevent bots.


    Camp Ranger
    Camper In Training

    Hi Happy Campler,
    Thanks for writing and I/we feel your pain with ReserveCalifornia and the bots. Probably 99.9% of our fans/readers are having the same issues.

    I’m pretty sure you are correct that the bots are the main culprit behind not being able to get a reservation through the ‘normal’ channels. ReserveCalifornia’s online reservation portal is also a mess, which doesn’t help.

    We are in the process of researching/writing an in-depth article (blog post) about ReserveCalifornia/Bots and it will include steps people can take to contact California State Parks, etc. Both the Parks and ReserveCalifornia have said they’ve been working on the problem, but it’s been going on for awhile – with no improvement.

    I agree with you that ReserveCalifornia online reservations must be bot-free. Unfortunately I don’t have any good advice of how you can work around the RC issues and bots . . . unless you wanted to use one of the bot sites. You’ll need to give them your credit card #, ReserveCalifornia login and be willing to pay an extra $40+ per night per site though. A sad situation.


    Camper In Training

    Hi Happy Camper,

    Thanks for the quick reply. I could spend my free-time writing open-source ‘bot’ software, but I would rather go camping.


    Camp Ranger
    Camper In Training

    FYI – we now have a poll up on the CampsitePhotos.com Facebook page regarding whether BOTS should be allowed to grab campsite reservations on ReserveCalifornia (and other campground reservation websites).

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

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