Skip to Content

The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Crowded Campgrounds in Your RV

Say Goodbye to crowded campgrounds: Unearth hidden gems for a more relaxed and less crowded camping experience.

You’ve been planning your RV trip for weeks.

You’ve stocked up on supplies, mapped out your route, and you’re ready for the tranquility of nature.

But when you finally pull into your chosen campground, it’s a different scene than you pictured.

RVs and tents are crammed together like sardines, children are running around screaming, and there’s a line for everything from the showers to the hiking trails.

Your dream of peaceful solitude has been replaced with the reality of a crowded campground.

Crowded campgrounds can turn a relaxing getaway into a stressful ordeal.

But with careful planning and a few insider tips, you can avoid the masses and enjoy the serenity that camping offers.

This guide will help you understand why campgrounds get crowded and how to secure a campsite even in the busiest seasons.

We’ll also provide tips on off-peak and off-the-beaten-path camping, techniques for making the best of crowded situations, and the benefits of joining membership clubs or campground networks.

Let’s dive in and help you reclaim your peaceful camping experience.

Avoiding crowded campgrounds cover

When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, please check our disclosure page.

What Causes Crowded Campgrounds?

Ever pulled into a campsite, expecting peace and quiet, only to find it buzzing like a rock concert?

Yeah, not fun.

So why do these campgrounds get so jam-packed? Let’s break it down.

RV parked at a secluded campsite, far away from crowded campgrounds.

Peak Travel Seasons

We all love summer, right?

Sunshine, school’s out, perfect for a family getaway. But guess what?

Everyone else has the same idea!

And weekends? Forget about it.

If you can swing it, try hitting the road during spring, fall, or mid-week. You’ll find fewer folks around.

Popular Locations

Some campsites are like the cool kids at school – everyone wants to hang out with them.

They’ve got killer views, they’re close to all the action, or they’ve got top-notch facilities.

They’re great, but boy, can they draw a crowd.

If you’re not set on the popular spots, try looking for the hidden gems instead.

Holidays & Festivals

Big holiday coming up? Local festival in town?

Chances are the nearby campgrounds will be chock-full of folks wanting to join the fun.

If you plan to camp during these times, be prepared for company.


Who doesn’t love camping in great weather?

When the forecast calls for clear skies and comfy temps, expect campgrounds to fill up faster than you can say “s’mores.”

So, by understanding all this, you can plan smarter.

Can you travel off-peak? Do it.

Fancy a popular spot? Book early.

Or better yet, find those under-the-radar locations.

Remember, you’re not just looking for a spot to park your RV; you’re after an awesome camping experience.

Booking: Your Ticket to a Stress-Free Getaway

Let’s talk about the golden rule of camping during peak seasons: book early.

And when I say early, I don’t mean a few weeks in advance.

We’re talking months here, folks. Why?

Because everyone loves a good camping trip when the weather’s nice.

Think about it like scoring tickets to your favorite band’s concert.

You wouldn’t wait until the day of the show to get them, right?

The same goes for securing your spot at a popular campground during peak season.

The best campsites with killer views, prime locations, and top-notch facilities get snapped up fast.

So, if you’ve got your heart set on one of these hotspots, you’ll want to reserve it as soon as bookings open, often six months to a year in advance.

Booking early secures your spot and gives you peace of mind.

You’ll know exactly where you’re headed and won’t have to stress about finding a last-minute campsite.

Plus, it gives you plenty of time to plan your activities and make the most of your getaway.

But remember, flexibility is your friend.

If you can’t get into your first-choice campground, don’t sweat it.

There are plenty of hidden gems out there that offer fantastic experiences and more tranquility.

So book early, stay flexible, and prepare for an epic camping adventure.

RV parked by a tranquil lakeside, an alternative to crowded campgrounds.

Off-Peak and Off-the-Beaten-Path Camping: The Road Less Traveled

If you’re not a fan of crowds (and let’s be honest, who is?), there’s a simple solution: take the road less traveled.

And by that, I mean look for opportunities to camp during off-peak times and in less popular locations.

Off-Peak Camping

Here’s the deal: most folks tend to camp during the summer months and on weekends.

So why not switch things up?

Spring and fall offer beautiful scenery, milder weather, and, best of all, fewer people.

Plus, you might even score lower rates during these times. It’s a win-win!

Hidden Gem Locations

Now, I know we all love the idea of camping near popular attractions. But let’s face it; those spots can get crowded.

And isn’t the whole point of camping to enjoy nature without a side of hustle and bustle?

Instead, consider setting your sights on less popular but equally beautiful camping locations.

Trust me, there are tons of hidden gems out there waiting to be discovered, offering peace, quiet, and stunning views.

But where do you find these hidden gems?

There’s no secret map, but there are resources to help you out.

Websites like Campendium and Allstays, or apps like The Dyrt, offer reviews and information on thousands of campsites.

You can filter by location, amenities, and more to find the perfect spot for your needs.

So don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. You might just find your new favorite camping spot!

Read more: Best RV Camping Apps For Boondocking, Uniques Stays & Road Trips

A serene and uncrowded campsite at sunset, perfect for RV camping.

Dispersed Camping and Boondocking: The Ultimate Escape

If you really want to escape the crowds, why not try dispersed camping or boondocking?

Now, if you’re scratching your head wondering what these terms mean, don’t worry. Here’s a quick introduction.

Dispersed camping is when you camp on public lands outside of designated campgrounds. It’s like being dropped in the middle of nature with no facilities – no restrooms, no water, nada.

Boondocking is pretty much the same thing but for RVers. It means parking your RV in a location that doesn’t have hookups or services, like a Walmart parking lot or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.

Sounds adventurous, right? It can be an amazing experience, but it’s not for everyone.

Here’s why:

Pros: The biggest pro is the solitude. You’ll likely have the place to yourself. Plus, it’s usually free! And let’s not forget the unobstructed nature views right from your tent or RV door.

Cons: The flip side is that you need to be completely self-sufficient. You must bring your own water, power, and toilet solutions.

And pack out everything you pack in.

This is where the Leave No Trace principles come in – you want to leave the place as pristine as you found it.

Also, not all public lands allow dispersed camping or boondocking.

So you’ll need to do your homework. Check the rules for the specific public land you’re considering.

Websites like the BLM site or apps like iOverlander can be great resources for finding legal spots.

So if you’re up for a little adventure and total peace and quiet, dispersed camping or boondocking could be just the ticket.

Just remember to plan ahead and respect the environment.

Read more: The Beginner’s Guide to Boondocking

RV driving through an open road, escaping the crowded campgrounds.

Crowded Campgrounds: How to Cope When Escape Isn’t An Option

Let’s face it; sometimes, despite our best efforts, we end up at a crowded campground.

It could be a holiday weekend, or that secluded spot was more popular than you thought.

Don’t panic!

There are ways to make the situation bearable and, dare I say, even enjoyable.

Establishing Personal Space

Your first line of defense is to establish some personal space.

If you’re in an RV, try parking with the door facing away from your neighbors.

If you’re in a tent, set it up as far from the next site as campground rules allow.

A little distance can go a long way toward maintaining peace and privacy.

Noise Levels

Remember, sound carries, especially in the great outdoors.

Consider your noise levels, especially early in the morning and late at night.

And if your neighbors aren’t as considerate, a pair of earplugs can be a lifesaver.

Read more: The Best Quiet Generator For RV Camping Adventures

Respecting Campground Rules

Campground rules are there for a reason – to ensure everyone has a pleasant stay.

So make sure you know and follow them.

This includes things like leash rules for pets, speed limits, and quiet hours.

Handling Conflicts

No matter how careful you are, conflicts can arise.

Maybe your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, or their party is going on a little too late.

The key here is to handle the situation diplomatically.

Politely express your concerns, and most people will be quick to correct the issue.

If they’re not, it may be time to involve the campground management.

So while crowded campgrounds might not be ideal, they don’t have to ruin your trip. With a bit of strategy and a lot of patience, you can still have a great time.

Beautiful, isolated campsite ideal for RV camping without crowds.

Membership Clubs and Campground Networks: Your VIP Pass to Exclusive Camping

If you’re an RVer looking to escape the crowds, membership clubs and campground networks can be your secret weapon.

These groups offer exclusive access to campgrounds that are often less crowded than public options.

Plus, they come with a host of other benefits.

RV clubs and campground networks offer members access to a network of campgrounds, often at discounted rates.

Some also offer additional perks like roadside assistance or RV insurance.

Here are a few examples.

Passport America

This club is all about discounts. Members get 50% off at over 1,800 campgrounds across the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Good Sam Club

Probably one of the most well-known RV clubs, Good Sam offers members up to 10% off at over 2,000 campgrounds, plus discounts on fuel, propane, and more at select locations.

Harvest Hosts

Want something a bit different?

Harvest Hosts offers members free overnight stays at wineries, breweries, farms, and more.

It’s a unique way to camp and a great way to avoid crowded campgrounds.

Boondockers Welcome

If you’re into boondocking, this one’s for you. Members get access to private property sites where they can park their RV for free.

Escapees RV Club

Join Escapees

In addition to campground discounts, Escapees offers a whole host of services, including mail forwarding, job listings for RVers, and advocacy on RV issues.

These are just a few examples.

There are many clubs out there, each with its own unique benefits.

So do a little research, find the one that fits your camping style, and enjoy less crowded camping experiences!

Couple enjoying a peaceful camping experience away from the crowds.

In Conclusion: Your Guide to a Crowd-Free Camping Experience

So there you have it.

Your ultimate guide to escaping the crowds and enjoying a peaceful camping experience.

Whether you’re an avid RVer or a tent-pitching pro, these tips can help you find that perfect tranquil spot.

Remember, planning is vital – book early, especially for those popular spots during peak season.

But remember off-peak times and less popular locations – they can be just as beautiful and much less crowded.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try dispersed camping or boondocking?

Just make sure to check the legality and follow Leave No Trace principles.

Or consider joining an RV club or campground network to access exclusive, less crowded sites.

But if you end up in a crowded campground, don’t despair.

Establish some personal space, keep noise levels in check, respect the rules, and handle conflicts with diplomacy.

Above all, remember that flexibility and respect for others are critical to a positive camping experience.

So get out there, explore, and enjoy the great outdoors. And if you’ve got any great tips or experiences to share, we’d love to hear them!

Explore the Great Outdoors: Your Gateway to the Best Campgrounds Across America

Embark on an unforgettable journey through America’s most spectacular camping destinations.

We’ve handpicked a series of articles, each one spotlighting the best campgrounds in a specific state or region. While we may not cover every state, our curated selection ensures you’ll discover a diverse range of unique and awe-inspiring locales.

From sun-kissed beaches to serene mountain retreats, each article provides an in-depth guide to help you plan your ideal outdoor adventure.

Start exploring now and immerse yourself in the wonders of the great outdoors!