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Old 11-01-2016, 05:18 PM   #1
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Reserve America New Fees for FL parks

Reserve America new fees for FL parks and maybe others. I noticed while making trip plans for this December that there is a new as of about a year ago fee of almost $7 per reservation. This seems a bit much since many folks park hop on the way from point A to point B. We usually stay at Falling Waters in Chipley and it is usually about $20 a night with all the fees which is pretty good. Well now it is close to $27 for the first night but we only stay there one night usually so we always get hit with the fees. I think the fee should be per order not per park. So on the way back a week later I have to pay the same fee again because the reservations were not consecutive. This kinda of fee structure is encouraging you to not stop at reasonable intervals which means more tired drivers with large vehicles which to me means more accidents. So potentially you could rack up $20-$30 fees or more for a one week vacation. I don't know of any other way to stay at a FL park other than pay this fee. Not sure if this is a FL thing or some new fee Reserve America is tacking on to everything.


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Old 11-01-2016, 05:35 PM   #2
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Apparently those fees are still small for a lot of people, since the worst problem with FLA SP is that they always show full and then you can spend a whole weekend looking some of the best spots empty, but if you talk to the rangers they will say if they don't call to cancel they can not do anything. Since SP are public land and to use them is a privilege, there should be a fee for not showing up and not canceling making the space available for the rest of the population.

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Old 11-01-2016, 06:38 PM   #3
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I've used RA for a few Florida parks. My impression is although the web site shows sold out the parks are half empty at best. If I'm just passing through from here on I'm going to chance it by calling when we're close to see if there's a spot. Of course we're really flexible travelers. I can stay at a WM, or a truck stop, or just about anywhere, and be happy so I'm not really risking much. I have a feeling as long as folks like RA can get away with it they will continue to increase rates and decrease service. But that's just me.
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:47 PM   #4
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The only time I make reservations is for organized rallies. I have never been turned away from a Florida State Park even when officially they are full. They seem to always have a few spots held back from Reserve America. This is also true of National and private parks.

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Old 11-01-2016, 06:52 PM   #5
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GA state parks hold back some sites for walk-in's or so I have been told at the parks. My guess is that many parks do the same. Some even show on RA as non-reservable sites but you have to show up to get them but hosts will let you know if open when you call.

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Old 11-01-2016, 07:00 PM   #6
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We live in the far western Florida Panhandle. We we head out on a trip within Florida, we spend a lot of one nighters in Florida State Parks. As we are senors and Florida residents, we pay $12 for a full hook-up campsite in a Florida State Park. To pay Reserve America $7 for a one night reservation nearly doubles our cost. We refuse to pay it and take our chances as a walk-in to get a campsite.

As to the no shows, they are paying for the campsite and the reservation.

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Old 11-01-2016, 08:24 PM   #7
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We are also FL senior residents. Reserve America was charging a $17.50 cancelation fee last time I checked, making it cheaper to NOT cancel in some cases.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Black7beard View Post
I've used RA for a few Florida parks. My impression is although the web site shows sold out the parks are half empty at best.
Just an observation, we have stayed at Ft. Clinch when every site was full and at Topsail Hill when there were only one or two (relatively undesirable) sites available. (And Topsail is a big park.)
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Old 11-01-2016, 10:22 PM   #9
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Getting to be a norm? We stayed at a county park in Illinois that had a $20.00 per night sur charge for NON county residents. The park soon closed.
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Old 11-01-2016, 10:25 PM   #10
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In KY you are charged the RA fee when making reservations at state parks.
On a recent trip south I noticed that GA did not charge the RA fee but instead smacked me with a $7 use fee on the way into the state parks.
Their gonna get it one way or the other.
Indiana also charges this use fee.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:03 AM   #11
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I believe that when ReserveAmerica went "live" some years ago, that "fee" came with it, as I recall us being surprised and a bit aggravated that we paid it when reserving in advance and also the exact same fee for drive-up spots....because any registration still used their system.

It is a hefty fee, not a small one, in my opinion.

What a racket.

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Old 11-02-2016, 09:54 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post

As to the no shows, they are paying for the campsite and the reservation.

Obviously you are within your legal right to do it, but to us is a matter of camaraderie to fellow campers. Many FL SP are among some of the most sought after, and many of them such as the new ones in the Keys, Sebastian or any other beach location get sold a year in advance, making it almost impossible for Florida residents to enjoy their parks during the weekend. We understand that we have to be fast and reserve a year in advance, but if we can not go for any reason we cancel to make it available to someone else. FL SP are very cheap when compared to private campgrounds, and they have much better locations, they are an affordable luxury supported by everyone's taxes, so when there is a no show it's not the park or RA the one perjudicated, it is people like you and families that have to stay at home because of a fellow camper "shelfisnes". Obviously this is a very personal approach but to our understanding SP are a privilege to be shared by the people, and keeping a waterfront space at Bahia Honda empty for the whole weekend (last time we were there 3 of them remained empty), while there is people paying over 150 bucks next door for a parking lot space, it is not very civic behavior.
When we have to cancel because our kids get fever (kids always get sic when you have the best reservations), we cancel and announce it on the FB forums that we are active to make sure someone will enjoy it.
I don't mean to offend anyone, just give our personal approach. Many hotels do it this way, you don't show and you loss your room even if you paid.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:55 AM   #13
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It is cheaper to not cancel on a one night reservation. I at least call the park if I can't make it. I think they even told us the can't rent it unless you go through and pay a hugh fee to cancel plus a nights rent.

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Old 11-02-2016, 12:30 PM   #14
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Cancellation is still $17.50 per reservation if you cancel before your arrival date. If you cancel on your arrival date it's $17.50 plus the first night's camping fee. I accidentally selected the wrong date, went immediately to change it and got assessed about $8 fee to make that 1 minute change.

Still, the Florida parks are great in January and February. I find they are more expensive than many of the RV parks but you get a nice sized spot among the trees, quiet and some great rangers. We go down and spend a month in the SP, hopping around, then maybe 1-2 months more in the RV resorts, the cheaper ones, and take day trips to the parks.


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