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Old 04-09-2019, 01:15 PM   #1
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VA to yellowstone in sept

Has anybody ever traveled cross country for 2-3 weeks and not had reservations anywhere.We just bought a new intent 26m this january and are new to the motorhome scene and was wondering what it would be like if we didnt have reservations as we make our way from va to yellowstone in september .Dont want to be tied down to being somewhere ,will we have trouble finding campgrounds with no reservations,thanks for any knowledge you can let us know about.
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:29 PM   #2
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A lot of Cracker Barrel’s have a few spaces set aside for RVs to park overnight. It’s best to either call ahead or contact the store manger when you arrive to make sure it’s ok. It’s always a good idea to have dinner and or breakfast there. There’s also an app that has places to stay overnight. I forget what it’s called, but I’m sure many people on this forum will know the name.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:09 PM   #3
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we used to be able to wing it but not so much anymore. campgrounds and RV parks are pretty full these days. but if you’re not particular about location, hookups/no hookups and the like then except for labor day weekend you can likely wing it. i’d be a bit more cautious on weekends but that’s just us.
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:47 AM   #4
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We do both with and without reservations. However places like Yellowstone in Sept can be more difficult. When traveling to popular places in peak times we like to have reservations. Sometimes we make reservations from the road as we get closer to our intended destination, this is our preferred method, lately we have made reservations as much as 6 months in advance.
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Old 04-12-2019, 04:31 PM   #5
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Walmart's work really well for overnight parking.

Just call ahead during the day you expect to arrive and ask permission.

I use the following statement when calling: "We are passing thru Anycity this evening in our RV and wanted to be sure it will be OK if we park overnight in your parking lot tonight."

We prefer the smaller towns, 15,000 to 40,000 population and away from major tourist areas for staying in WM's. Big cities are very busy and a lot of the WM's don't allow O/N parking. Tourist areas generally don't allow O/N parking either.

I also use the satellite view on Google Maps or Bing Maps to view the parking lot. I look for parking areas on the edges that are away from busy streets. In the center we have had 18 wheelers pull up and run their engine all night.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BROAD ST View Post
Has anybody ever traveled cross country for 2-3 weeks and not had reservations anywhere.We just bought a new intent 26m this january and are new to the motorhome scene and was wondering what it would be like if we didnt have reservations as we make our way from va to yellowstone in september .Dont want to be tied down to being somewhere ,will we have trouble finding campgrounds with no reservations,thanks for any knowledge you can let us know about.
YES, we did it last spring for 4.5 months. Only 2 advanced reservations because of a holiday and the NP CG was full.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:37 PM   #7
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We seldom do reservations. We have called ahead when we know where we will be stopping for the night and made a reservation. Yellowstone in September will be awesome. Our favorite time of the year to go is early October. After the Labor Day holiday the tourist numbers drop significantly and it is a lot easier to get around. Safe travels.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:24 PM   #8
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We've gone around the country on a 6 month tour without reservations. Just be aware of where you are and the "peak season" potential for full campgrounds around really popular attractions and parks e.g. Yellowstone, nearly all of the time. You can phone a resort few days ahead when you know when you will be an area. I highly recommend using the Allstays Camp & RV application for your phone and use Reserve America for checking and booking national and state park sites.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:36 PM   #9
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We drive across the US often twice a year, and rarely make reservations. For example we did at the French Quarter RV in New Orleans recently--but only because this is a campground we know is almost always full.

For Yellowstone in Sept (which we have done) we would suggest trying to get reservations at Yellowstone now. Also if you want to stop in Cody (highly recommended for several days), make reservations now. Maybe in Black Hills, and Near Mt. Rushmore. Also reservations recommended in Jackson Hole or environs (also recommended).

Remember that you can have snow in Yellowstone any time of the year--and we have seen it in August and Sept. We got caught in a bad storm in Montana in mid Sept,

The rest of the way you should be fine. Some campgrounds begin to close near the end of Sept. We like to take Southern routes when it gets colder. There are always campgrounds available along I 10 if you take that route home. Watch your weather where ever you go.

Have a great time--you are going to some very special places!
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:01 PM   #10
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We have traveled from Florida to Alaska before without any advance reservations. It is sometimes stressful attempting to find places to stay while you are on the road, especially if it is for a Friday through Sunday or a holiday. We are leaving soon for Yosemite and have reservations for the entire trip. I really hate being on a schedule but I am hoping this will relieve the stress of trying to make reservations everyday. Enjoy your trip. Also try to get up to Glacier National Park if you have extra time.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:11 PM   #11
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We took 6 months last year to travel West, and made all reservations in advance. For us, it was just less stressful. Also, we don't boondock...as we get older, we just aren't as comfortable with it. And as the wagon master for our camping club, I guess I am just used to planning a year ahead! lol

If we were roaming and taking our time, we would be less scheduled. But we went to a LOT of tourist sites on our way from SC to Washington: all the Utah parks, up through Wyoming, then Oregon and Washington. Over half of our stops were in national parks, and likely-to-be busy tourist destinations. Depending on time of year, it can get crazy. We also have a strict budget and have found planning ahead helps us stick to the budget.

I usually planned a 2-3 day stayover every few weeks both as a break from driving, and so that if anything did happen on the road, adjusting the schedule would only require a few days worth of reservations rather than months worth! We were lucky that we only had to do that one time and it was just a one-day adjustment.

For us it worked well. I would rather spend time taking pictures, admiring the scenery or reading than on the phone trying to find campsites. It also gave us a good incentive to stay on track with our schedule.

But the joy of travel is being able to do things your way. Sit back and enjoy. Our trip west was our favorite!
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:25 AM   #12
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The usual Wallmart, Sam's Club, Casino's, City Parks, Mall parking lots, rest area's, truck stops, grocery store parking lots. Out West BLM grounds.
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Old 04-18-2019, 11:30 AM   #13
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The usual Wallmart, Sam's Club, Casino's, City Parks, Mall parking lots, rest area's, truck stops, grocery store parking lots. Out West BLM grounds.
The only caveat is that some Walmarts are prohibited from allowing overnight parking because of City Ordinances. That's true here in our little town. Their Parking Lot used to be full during 'transition' times (snow birds coming through on their way to Phoenix or Tucson...and the City got a lot of complaints from the RV parks here in town, so guess what? No longer able to spend the night at Walmart... or Sam's Club... or Grocery Stores. It sucks.. but that's City Hall...
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:08 PM   #14
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I hope you already have your reservations in Yellowstone and/or GT NP. The Fishing Bridge campground is closed this year for renovations and it was by far the largest RV campground in the park, so space is in particularly short supply this year. There are some decent RV parks outside the park boundaries, but its always nicer to be inside the parks if you can. We had no issues finding space outside the parks.

We were in YS and CT in late September last year and it is a great time of year to be there. The crowds are lighter and the big animals are coming down into the valleys.
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