Here’s the next five tips I promised. If you are reading for the first time, you may want to read the first five below, then come back to this. Either way – it’s OK. Enjoy and if you want more insights about full-time tent traveling, check out our book 2 Years in a Tent.
Connect some campground dots. Get your map out and try to connect as many campgrounds as you can on your way to your ultimate destination. Try to make them within a one-day, 6-8 hour driving range. This means if – for some reason – you can’t get to your destination that day, you’l have another “fall-back” or alternate place to put up your tent.
Also consider visiting our many National Monuments and National Forest System campgrounds. Only Congress can create National Parks but the President can create National Monuments. They are both managed by the National Park System. The National Forest Service (NFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Army Corp of Engineers are also under federal jurisdiction and if you have the Access or Senior Pass you can get into them and the National Parks and National Monuments for free and 50% off camp fees as well. Best deal in the USA for the disabled and seniors.
If no reservations – travel to arrive only on Mondays or Tuesdays. The rest of the week and Wednesdays can be “iffy.” This way you’ll arrive and get a better site without having to compete with “week-enders.”
If reservations are required – ask for a level site in the “tents only” area – if they have one. The reality is, you might have to take whatever they have available during busy season. Some campgrounds have a few “overflow” sites but you must be there in person to get them. Overflow sites are often left up to the camp host to issue and if you are friendly, you stand a better chance of getting one without a reservation.
Take a good size ice chest and buy food and ample supplies before you get into the park. Inside the park normal things get expensive. For example, we priced a small bottle of propane (for the stove) at the only store in Death Valley National Park, and they outrageously priced it at $13. You can buy the same item at a Wal-Mart for less than $3. Go figure.
And of course, take your camera, first-aid kit and don’t forget the axe, hammer and tent stakes.
And a final suggestion: Always remember and respect the people who came before you and built the roads and parks for all Americans to enjoy today. They were hard working people and realized the very best of American is within our National Parks and Monuments – not in the city. Go and enjoy the very best of America.