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  1. #1

    Default Campground reservations

    My partner and I are doing a fairly major road trip this summer: Brooklyn to Portland, Oregon (by way of Ontario), down the coast highway to San Francisco, and then back.

    We're mostly camping (partly because I enjoy camping, and partly because it's just so much cheaper). I had orignally wanted to be casual about reservations, except for the places where we knew for sure we wanted to stay; however, because our dates on the front end of the trip are not very flexible, I realized we'd be trying to find camping the week of July 4th.

    So, here's the main question: is it foolish to wait to make reservations at a campground the nights of July 2nd (we're aiming to be near Parry Sound, Ontario), July 3rd (somewhere near Sault Ste Marie), and July 4th (near Rhinelander, WI). Honestly, we're just looking for somewhere to put up our tent, have some dinner, sleep, eat breakfast, and be on our way. As of this weekend (June 17) most of the state parks in the areas we're planning to drive through still had good availability, but I don't know how long that will last.

    I want the option of being flexible about where we stop for the evenings, so that if we see something really cool, we can linger, or if we are really enjoying driving, we can keep going. This worked well on our last long road trip (Brooklyn to Orlando and back), but that one was off-season, so the campgrounds weren't crowded at all.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Wing It!

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I really wouldn't worry about it in those places on those dates. One nice thing about the 4th this year, at least nice for your situation, is that the holiday falls in the middle of the week, so there won't be as many people out traveling.

    I can also say there are plenty of camping spaces in the UP and in Northern Wisconsin that even on a busy weekend, you can find a place to set up a tent. If the state parks are filled, you'll still be able to find some ground in the nearby National Forests.

    I can't speak quite as confidently about the area of Onterio where you will be, but I strongly suspect you won't have any problems there. The only reason I might be a little more concerned is that Canadian Independance Day is on July 1st, so you might have a few more people taking a long weekend, but I would guess that you should still be able to find something without too much trouble.

  3. #3


    Thanks. That's what I was thinking, but I wanted to check with other people, so that we don't wind up driving around fruitlessly for hours on end!

    We did make reservations in a few places we definitely wanted to stay (Yellowstone, for instance), so I think there will be a good balance of spontaneity and security.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Agreed, but be prepared

    While those are popular areas, the mid-week timing works in your favor. If you are uneasy, you can always call a day or so ahead to see if a particular campground is booked up. Get a copy of one of the major campground directories (Trailer Life, Woodalls, etc.) and keep it handy with your cell phone. It will save you a lot of driving around after dark.

    If you have some time, Colonial Michilimackinac (early French colonization) and Fort Mackinac (Civil War) in Mackinaw City are great spots to live a little history. Another interesting spot (fur trading posts and Indian village) is Forts Folle Avoine near Danbury, WI, and one of our all-time favorite early living history places, Fort Snelling in St. Paul, MN.

    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of A Traveler's Guide: America's Living History - The Early Years

  5. #5


    Thanks for the suggestions. On reservations: I wasn't feeling especially uneasy, but then I worried that I wasn't worried. You know how that goes.

    Your places to visit seem really interesting. That's one good thing about a road trip: there is (nearly) always something interesting to stop off and see.

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