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Million Mile Secrets team member Jesse recently planned a trip to Napa Valley using ReserveAmerica, a site that helps you reserve camping spots in the US. And we thought it could be a useful resource for some of our readers!
So here’s a review of ReserveAmerica. And how to use the site.
ReserveAmerica is a website designed to help you find and reserve recreational spots across the US. You can search for lodging, including camping and RV sites, day use, and picnic areas, in state and private parks that contract with the site.
But if you’re planning a cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway, it could be great to use if you’re traveling a little more off the beaten path. Million Mile Secrets team member Jesse used ReserveAmerica to plan a 6-day bike trip through Napa Valley with his girlfriend.
They used the site to search for campsites around the area, and decided to book either the Sugarloaf Ridge SP or Bothe-Napa Valley SP location. They wanted to camp from Saturday through Thursday, but couldn’t find an open 5-night block, so Jesse’s girlfriend decided to call ReserveAmerica.
Luckily, the phone representative was able to find an open spot from Sunday through Thursday. And mentioned that lots of folks check-out on Sundays. And if you search for a reservation starting on a Saturday, their system will oftentimes show that nothing is available at all. So you have to be a little flexible.
They were charged a $7 fee for booking over the phone, but felt it was worth it. Because they might have cancelled the trip if they hadn’t been able to book a campsite!
Here’s how to search for a site and make a reservation using ReserveAmerica.
Step 1. Enter Your Destination
From the ReserveAmerica homepage, enter the city, state, or zip code you plan on traveling to. Then click the search button.
Step 2. Refine Your Search
Then you’ll be able to filter your search results depending on the type of lodging you’re looking for, the number of people you’re traveling with, your travel dates, and more.
For example, you can choose to search for tent spots, campgrounds with RV hookups, day use or picnic sites, and more!
Then click the “Search” button.
Step 3. Make Your Reservation Selection
After you refine your search, you’ll be able to select the site you want to reserve by clicking “Book Sites.”
You can even switch from a list view to a map view, if it helps you better visualize the location of each site!
Step 4. Choose the Specific Site You Want
From there, you’ll see a map of the campground you selected, with a layout of every site.
This can be particularly helpful if you want to be closer to (or farther from!) the restrooms, for example. Or if you’re in a tent, and you want to avoid the spaces reserved for RVs. Because it’s no fun being stuck in a sea of campers when you’re in a little tent!
Then, select the “Date Range Availability” tab to see which sites you can book. And to choose the site you want.
Step 5. Complete the Booking
After you’ve selected the dates you want, pay for your reservation. Just click “Book These Dates.”
Then you need to sign-in or create an account. And you’ll have to enter information including your name, address, email, and phone number, along with your payment details. Just keep in mind, ReserveAmerica charges a ~$10 booking fee that varies by campground.
You May Be Able to Erase the Cost With Miles!
And if you use a card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can use the rewards you earn to help offset the cost of your camping trip.
You can read my review of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card here. And check out this post for more about Capital One’s Venture Rewards card.
Are There Drawbacks?
The ~$10 booking fee can add up if you’re booking multiple sites or are traveling for an extended period of time. Especially because you can call many of the sites directly, including those in state parks, and book over the phone without a fee.
That said, during the busy summer months, folks have complained about long hold-times when calling-in to reserve sites. So paying a fee could might be worth it!
But keep in mind, many campgrounds reserve a few sites for same-day, walk-up reservations. And some even offer sites reservable only by backpackers or those traveling by bike.
The main difference between ReserveAmerica and the other popular campsite reservation system, Recreation.gov, is that ReserveAmerica includes state and private parks, if they contract with them. Recreation.gov only shows sites located on federal lands, like US national parks.
I found ReserveAmerica easy to use, and liked all the search filters. You can search by criteria like location, what type of lodging you’re looking for (campsite or cabin), and even whether pets are allowed.
But they do charge a fee, which varies depending on the site you book. Unlike Recreation.gov, that’s free to use.
That said, Million Mile Secrets team member Jesse used the site to plan a bike trip through Napa, and felt that the service fees he was charged were well worth it. Because Recreation.gov only shows sites on federal lands, and ReserveAmerica includes sites in state parks and private lands that they contract with.
Have you used ReserveAmerica?