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Old 04-21-2016, 08:15 AM   #43
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I think Reserve America is great! I agree that for long term stays the fee is worthwhile. While traveling, I use it to see how full the park is and generally don't make a reservation. It's also handy for snagging cancellations in Florida parks.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:23 AM   #44
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Never used Reserve America, just Recreation.gov. So Reserve America includes state parks too. I usually use the state's state park website to make reservations.

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Old 04-21-2016, 09:01 AM   #45
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So Reserve America includes state parks too.
SOME State Parks. Some States have their own systems. For example, in my geographical area…

Alabama is a mixed bag. Some Alabama parks only take reservations by phone, the others use a company called MegaHotel to manage reservations.

Mississippi uses Reserve America.

Four years ago, Louisiana used Reserve America. Then they tried using their own system for a year or so, but now they're back to Reserve America.

Texas uses their own online system. So does Arkansas.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:02 AM   #46
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A CoE campground was a pit? That's unusual.Again, a CoE campground is expensive? I have yet to see one where a campsite cost more than $25 per night. That's hardly expensive compared to most privately-owned campgrounds.

And the Reserve America or Reservation.gov reservation fee is the same no matter how long you stay, one night or two weeks, same fee for a given park. However, the fee does vary from one park to the next. I have a reservation at Topsail Hill in Florida where the fee was $6.70, for a reservation 11 months in advance. But I also have a reservation at a Louisiana State park where the fee was $6.00 for a reservation three months in advance. Both through Reserve America. I can't recall ever paying a $10 or $12 reservation fee anywhere.

Anyway, now that I'm retired I make a point of never staying anywhere for less than a week unless I'm in transit to someplace better, so the reservation fee adds at most a dollar a night to the cost. I can live with that in exchange for a guaranteed site.
I knew that would get your attention. This one was in Nebraska right above Kansas. We were surprised as we stayed primarily at COE campgrounds all the way out west. We haven't been to any since then.

If we were on a specific schedule we would probably make reservations but for now, it doesn't make sense for us. We can change our destination while in route if the weather isn't right or like last year in Oregon when we kept running into forest fires and closed roads.

No, I didn't mean to imply that COE parks are expensive. They are our favorite place to stay. I'm referring to concessionaire run Federal campgrounds that charge you $24 a night for nothing more than a parking spot.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:06 AM   #47
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I knew that would get your attention. This one was in Nebraska right above Kansas.
That would explain it. I grew up in Oklahoma, so I would consider all of Nebraska to be a pit! In fact, the only reason for Kansas to exist is so that Oklahoma doesn't have to share a border with Nebraska.

Before a flame war breaks out on this thread, let me hasten to add that my opinion about Nebraska is nothing personal; it's just tradition for Okies to think of Cornhuskers that way. And vice versa, no doubt.
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:59 PM   #48
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Of course there are pros and cons for reservations AND fees. And much does depend on your personal style and ability to travel with flexibility. However, the sheer peace of mind of knowing we have a place set to land is well worth it to me... In the AZ State Park System the reservation fee is just $5 no matter how many nights you are there, so the reservation fee decreases exponentially in a sense each day you are there... There was a time where AZ Sate Parks didn't do reservations and everything was totally first come first served. What a nightmare that was...driving 5 hours and then finding the campground full is no fun AT ALL. We were so pleased when reservations were possible. The down side of it is, of course, that you have to plan further in advance, depending on the destination. There are still plenty of NF campgrounds out west that are first come first served, even in the same areas, and sometimes even in the same campgrounds as those sites that are reserved, so there is the ability to "wing it" which we DO do when we have the luxury of being flexible in our plans. Recently we had to make a change in our AZ State Park Reservation...we didn't cancel but we needed to change sites. I was expecting to have to pay another reservations fee, be we didn't have to...they made the change at no charge when we called in (couldn't do this online). What a pleasant surprise!
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:57 PM   #49
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I refuse to pay regardless of price. Would you pay $6 for a hotel reservation? We've been on the road for 9 months and have made reservations twice. One was for a private RV park near Glacier NP and the other was for Canopener where you need to reserve a site early in order to get a good site.

The trend of reserving USFS campsites and letting concessionaires run federal campgrounds is not good. We rarely plan ahead of time and remain flexible avoiding most NP or very popular campgrounds.

Surprise, you do pay for the hotel reservation. Every chain charges the property for each reservation sent through the nationwide system, with the only difference being, it is included in the cost of the room. No different rate if you book direct. Walk ins, late at night, can usually talk down the rate, sometimes as much as 50%.


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Old 04-23-2016, 08:59 AM   #50
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Surprise, you do pay for the hotel reservation. Every chain charges the property for each reservation sent through the nationwide system, with the only difference being, it is included in the cost of the room. No different rate if you book direct. Walk ins, late at night, can usually talk down the rate, sometimes as much as 50%.


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Yes, you are right about that. Can you imagine the outrage if they charged the reservation fee separately?
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:07 AM   #51
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Yes, you are right about that. Can you imagine the outrage if they charged the reservation fee separately?
Kind of like the outrage we've seen here?
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:24 AM   #52
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I'm not outraged. You'll know without a doubt when I am outraged.

I went back into my RA account and was looking at my reservations for Canopener. They did not charge me a reservation fee both times. The first year I was charged a change fee when we moved to a different site.

Also, when you go into a CG that uses RA, all you have to give them is your phone number and they get all your registration details.

We pulled into Palmetto SP in La last January. They use the RA system. I was charged a reservation fee of $6 even though we had no reservation. I did not realize it until last week.
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:25 AM   #53
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I'm not outraged. You'll know without a doubt when I am outraged.
Sorry. I meant here on the thread, not here in your posts in particular.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:12 AM   #54
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I just completed a 2500 mile round trip to the Keys and back attending the Florida State Rally and a week long visit to Key West. The only reservations I had was for the rally and that was arranged by the organizers. On the way down I stayed at private campgrounds and the Navy dry camping in Key West, no reservations. On the way back up I stayed at two Florida State Parks, one private and two Military campgrounds, again no reservations. Officially all the state parks were full. Not once did I get turned away. Florida State Parks always seemed to have a few spots for walk-ins.

Maybe a silly ques. But, is the Navy key West camp spot for Navy only?? And what about Military campgrounds. Are they open to the general public as well?? Thanks
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:31 AM   #55
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Maybe a silly ques. But, is the Navy key West camp spot for Navy only?? And what about Military campgrounds. Are they open to the general public as well?
Military Family Campgrounds or "FamCamps" are open to active-duty military and their dependents, retired military and their dependents, and employed or retired Department of Defense civilian employees. There are 244 FamCamps all over the United States. If you or some member of your family has a Department of Defense ID Card (AKA Common Access Card, or CAC) then you're eligible to use any FamCamp, as long as the person with the CAC is present.

Some— but not all— FamCamps allow the CAC holder to bring in guests. Last year, my WBCCI Unit, which has 8 CAC holders, held a rally at the Pensacola Naval Air Station FamCamp, in the campground area called "Battleship Row," which is near— but not on— the base. With 8 CAC holders each sponsoring two non-CAC-holding guests, we were able to accommodate 24 Airstreams for the rally. The guests couldn't arrive before their hosts, and had to leave when their hosts did. So many of the CAC-holding hosts arrived a day early and stayed a day late for the rally, and all was copacetic.

Some FamCamps are heavily used, others not so much. And there are priorities. For example, as a retired DoD civilian with a CAC, my priority is 17, there are sixteen priorities of active duty military and retired military ahead of me. But that only makes a difference if the camp is fully booked and someone with a higher priority wants to make a reservation. Then they can bump a person with a lower priority.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:39 AM   #56
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Nancie that would be Active Duty or Retired Military only. Beautiful place.

And the Military Campgrounds, Famcamps also have some guidelines for DOD retired civilians.

Sometimes now with all these locations being online it can get a bit confusing as they are even getting reviewed on trip advisor.
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