Skip to main content

US campsites become reservation only, as visitors urged to book immediately

campsite
Campsite spots are filling up fast across America as they become reservation only (Image credit: Getty)

Campsites are imploring people to book reservations sooner rather than later in danger of missing out altogether this summer. A number of campsites have already moved to reservation only, making it much easier to book.

With some campsites only offering 50% of their capacity amid concerns of social distancing, limited spaces are available and will be unlikely to accommodate last-minute reservations. Ultimately, acting quickly is essential in order to secure your spot at these campsites for the spring or summer months.

Many bookings can be made through recreation.gov, a website that offers reservations at over 3,600 facilities and 103,000 individual sites across the country. Some reservations will, however, have to be made through state specific sites.

  • If you can find somewhere to pitch them, you'll want to check out the best tents
  • Everything you need to know before you go: camping checklist

Complications in the Rocky Mountain National Park mean it is essential reservations are secured early. With just 50% availability provided for reservation at Glacier Basin and Moraine Park campgrounds, and with reservations having been open since November, there are limited spaces.  

"At this time, we are not planning on opening our other reservation campground, Aspenglen, in May until we know more regarding COVID-19 guidance," said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson (reported in the Daily Camera), due to the disruptions the park suffered last year.

However, for the first time ever, camping in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) will be reservation-only for 2021, beginning January 26. Opportunities to book six months in advance allow plenty of planning time, eliminating congestion for first-come, first-served. Prices will slightly increase for all sites in GTNP and the John D Rockefeller, Jr Memorial Parkway, although the number of visitors isn't expected to be affected. 

"Campground reservations allow for an enhanced visitor experience. It allows for some predictability, it gives visitors some choices," said public information officer Denise Germann (reported in Wyoming Public Media), suggesting the shift to pre-booking is a positive. "They're able to see the information online. It gives them some convenience, and what I consider some comfort, to know that they've got a secure campsite before they get here.”

camping teenagers

Ensure you reserve camping spots early in order to avoid disappointment  (Image credit: Getty)

Similarly, camping reservations for all Colorado National Parks, National Forests and State Parks can be made up to six months in advance. Colorado actually moved to a reservation-only system last year due to the issues of the pandemic, which will still be utilised for 2021. However, people planning to visit have been told to stay prepared in case changes are enforced.

"As we saw last year, things can change quickly, and we do ask that people be prepared in case of unforeseen closures as we work to follow all county and state public health orders," said Bridget Kochel, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

If you're planning a camping trip in the coming months but don't know where to look, make sure to check our guide to how to book the best campsite