LifeTech Tips


This tool tells you when national parks campsites become available

You can set alerts for your favorites, and it captures state parks, too.
Campers crowd around at Yosemite National Park.
Posted at 1:05 PM, Jun 14, 2023

Did you miss your chance to book a campsite at a national park this summer? Travel experts advise you to book campsites at popular national parks at least six months in advance, especially if you are RV camping.

But all hope is not lost: There is a new service called CampScanner that scans for available spots at almost 5,000 national and state parks. With a few simple clicks, you can search a database of over 200,000 campsites to find open tent or RV camping spots. You can also set alerts for campsites or parks that are high on your must-see list, and you will get a notification if any sites become available at a previously sold-out park. With immediate text notifications, you will be able to quickly book the site before someone else snatches it up.

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This service has never been more necessary as the popularity of camping has rapidly escalated in the last decade. More than 90 million American households say they enjoy camping, according to the 2023 KOA camping survey. This is great news for national and state parks, as entrance and camping fees help to support these vital areas of wildlife. But it can also be bad news for nature lovers because it means you might miss your shot at getting a prime campsite.

But with CampScanner, avid campers can swoop in and save their summer vacation.

CampScanner was created by Harvest Hosts, a private RV membership offering users self-contained locations at different places including parks, wineries and farms.

There are three tiers of service at CampScanner. You can opt for Basecamp, which costs $39 a year. With Basecamp, CampScanner will scan every 15 minutes at up to five different campsites. With Trailhead ($49 a year), CampScanner will scan every 10 minutes at up to 10 different locations. And the most elite option, Summit ($79 a year) scans every 5 minutes at up to 15 different sites.

However, if you sign up right now you can get 15% off your membership by using the code INTRO15.

This story was originally published by Bridget Sharkey on