A variety of new features will be phased in between August 1 and March 1,including moving from a first-of-the-month on-sale days to a new rolling window reservation service.
This means that visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Camping and lodging inventory will become available each day for a period of six months in advance. For example, on August 1 a visitor will be able to reserve a campsite beginning February 1, through as many consecutive days as the park allows.
The reservation could extend from Februaryif the park allows a day stay. The rolling window adjusts for months longer or shorter than 31 days. If you make a reservation on: You can make reservations with an arrival date of: August 1, Online Reservations. Reservations can be made either online or by phone: Online : Reservations are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on www. Phone : Customer Call Center. The center is available 7 days a week, from 8 a. The best times to call are midday and midweek, when the phone lines are less busy.
If you make a reservation on: You can make reservations with an arrival date of: August 1, February 1, August 2, February 2, August 3, February 3, Months longer or shorter than 30 days February 28, August 28, March 1, AugustIn this case, the game is the camping reservation contest. At the turn of each month in winter, it's like the Indianapolis when the starter announces, "Gentleman, start your engines.
On the morning of Feb. But this is how it's been this winter. On Dec. On Jan. By now, you're starting to get the picture: You better master the system, or you better know all the alternative campsites that are off the grid.
In the end, outdoors smarts can still beat the system. By spring, the way it's going right now, most campgrounds at the marquee state and national parks will be booked full from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, and the well-known Forest Service camps at major lakes will also be full see the adjoining list for the 10 fastest booked campgrounds at state parks.
Does this mean you give up? You gotta be kidding. I've been beating the system for 25 years and so can anybody else. Most of these are managed by the U. See the accompanying list of the best state park campgrounds for Northern California that typically have campsite availability even into summer. An example is on the Mendocino Coast, where gorgeous walk-in campsites -- first come, first served -- are available at MacKerricher and Van Damme state parks.
Even on 3-day weekends, with no reservation, I can always find a good spot.
Tips on beating the system for campsite reservations
But to try this, that is, to risk camping without a reservation, you'd better know all the spots and do whatever it takes to make it work, so if your first choice is full, you don't get stuck for the night. Just as there are rules for always finding a good spot, you can easily sabotage your trip with a mindless approach. For any campground on Highway 1, in Yosemite, in the Bay Area for a three-day weekend, a reservation is an absolute must.
If you want to stay at any of the top 10 state park campgrounds see listyou must be ready to pounce the first minute literally reservations are available. For Steep Ravine Cabins on Highway 1 in Marin, every cabin for every day six months out can be reserved in 11 or 12 minutes. Yet that hasn't slowed anybody down.
If the camp is pretty, clean and has showers and flush toilets, it's almost automatic that it will fill. The reason is because the most enjoyable moment in the great outdoors is out camping -- not when you catch a giant fish, climb a mountain or raft a river.
It's the magic time shared between family and friends around a campfire after dinner, connecting, that ties people for life. It doesn't get any better than that. Is California a nation-state, as Newsom calls it? Recommended Video:.
Most Popular. Now it has one of the nation's largest coronavirus hot spots. Coronavirus immunity remains a big question mark. Opinion: I'm conservative. Right-wing media has been a disaster.Please note — you cannot make a same day cancellation online.
For customers with reservations made prior to Aug 1,please call the reservations line am — pm Pacific Time PT to speak to a reservations specialist for modifications or cancellations. Use arrow keys to navigation on dates.
Extend Time Let cart expire. From Date. To Date. Unit Type. Preferred Contact Method. Required ADA Sites. Existing Customer. Please log in to make, view, cancel or modify your reservations. Email Address. Password case sensitive. Booking Agent. New Password. Confirm New Password. Password Requirement: The password must be between 7 and 15 upper and lower case letters, characters, and special characters. Sign In Save and Log In.
Forgot Password? You need to have an account to make reservations or make any other purchases online. Create Account. Place Category. Arrival Date Arrival Date. Nights 0. Show Filters. Please click here. Pre Check In. No Resource. You may not be able to occupy the site as check in time. Your Purchase. Filter By Date. Please select customer or dependent. Display reservations starting after:. Filter records using confirmation number. There are no facility reservations to display.You can book your reservation at www.
Part of this effort included a new comprehensive reservation system to support field operations and enhance the experience of the visitors with a modern platform. California has the largest state park system in the nation with park units.
Transitioning to a new reservation system allows us to provide more user-friendly web services and greater accessibility to more visitors for the highly sought-after camping and lodging locations. Interactive maps with more detailed views of campsites and self-service online options represent some of the additional features of the new system, which allow for better trip planning and access to outdoor public spaces.
The public can reserve the highly sought-after campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Camping and lodging inventory will become available each day for a period of six months in advance. At times, the public demand exceeds the inventory of available campsites. We have approximately 13, campsites available on ReserveCalifornia and each year, on average, more than 6.How To Reserve A Campsite At A State Or National Park
This is especially true with popular parks such as the cottages at Crystal Cove State Beach where there are only 24 spaces available to book and are booked all year round, and others like Steep Ravine cabins at Mount Tamalpais State Park, RV campground at Seacliff State Beach and all of our southern coastal campgrounds.
Q5: Why does ReserveCalifornia show available reservations one day and then booked before the 8 a. PST when the rolling window opens? A: One factor that may explain the availability issue is that the new reservation system allows visitors who have an existing reservation to modify their reservation. For example, a visitor who already has a reservation from Septembercan modify their reservation from their original reservation to September before the 8 a.
PST reservation window as long as it is within the maximum stay limit of that particular park. A: Feedback from the public helps us as we continue to develop and improve the system. Visitors encountering technical issues or who are unable to make a reservation on ReserveCalifornia. Individual parks do not take reservations. Please contact the Customer Call Center. As nature lovers ourselves, we sympathize with our fellow outdoor enthusiasts and want to assure them that we continue to review the reservation system for process improvement and will continue to implement improvements as they are identified.
California State Parks apologizes for the frustrations some of our visitors are encountering using ReserveCalifornia.
Providing a user-friendly reservation system and equal access to all of our visitors is one of our top priorities. As with any new large system, course corrections must be made. Q7: Is California State Parks making any improvements to the new reservation system? A: We are always looking ways to make the visitor experience, both online and by phone, accessible and positive.
For example, California State Parks is looking into limiting the number of modifications an individual can make and updating terms and conditions that define acceptable and unacceptable uses of the reservation system.
Q8: I do not understand how the rolling window reservation works. Can you please provide an example? It is also similar to the booking window for facilities in the National Park Service. Each new date opens at 8 a.
The rolling window also adjusts for months longer or shorter than 30 days. For example:. Below is a breakdown of the features:. The new reservation system provides more user-friendly and intuitive web services, including:.With park units, California is home to the largest state park system in the nation.
One key difference from the previous reservation system and the new one, is that we moved from a block or on-sale day reservation period to a rolling window. This means that you can reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date.
Detailed information about this new feature and others can be found in our FAQs section of this website. Bots: Security features were installed to reduce the opportunities for 'bots' to access reservations and negatively impact the availability of campsites and tour ticket opportunities. Search Functions: The calendar view now gives you the option to pick available dates for next weekend, furthest arrival date, or select a date. Picking the type of rental desired has also been simplified.
You now have the option to select the type of rental such as camping, group camping or hook up camping. Modifications: Our visitors can now only modify their reservations up to two times, with the exception of Crystal Cove Beach Cottages where no modifications are allowed.
Third Party Vendors: Reservations are for personal use only. Any resale, transfer, use, for profit activity, or memberships that are not approved in advance by California State Parks are strictly prohibited and will be subject to immediate cancellation without notice, refund or reimbursement.
You may also not be allowed to make any reservations or open new accounts. There are currently no approved vendors to operate as third party partners.
Our parks are loved by many within and outside the state of California. Sometimes the demand for our camping and lodging sites exceeds our inventory.
Plan, do your research, and have alternate parks in mind in case your first choice is booked. California State Parks has something for everybody - year-round. Whether it's hiking, biking, strolling on a beach or cross-country skiing, state parks has it all. You can walk through the redwoods, sail on a lake, view wildlife, explore the desert, see history first-hand in historic sites, and just relax with family and friends.
For more information about California's state parks, check out www. Please check out our frequently asked questions FAQs for details on the new system or subscribe to our news feed to receive the latest information.
Use arrow keys to navigation on dates. Extend Time Let cart expire. From Date. To Date. Unit Type. Preferred Contact Method. Required ADA Sites.Nestled along the coast of Marin County, down beneath the cliffs of the Pacific, they make their way to one of 10 primitive wooden cabins. They go for the sweeping views of the ocean and a secluded beach a few steps away.
Almost impossible. When the registration window opens at 8 a. Abigail and Steve have been trying to book a cabin for a year now, with no success. Are others beating them through the reservation system? Bots are software that can automatically perform routine tasks on the internet. The bots go and pull all that information into one helpful place. But bots can also be used nefariously, such as taking down a website by overwhelming its servers and making it impossible for legitimate users to access the system.
Chris Streeter is a software engineer living in San Francisco. The place was percent booked, but he kept checking the ReserveAmerica website for cancellations -- a common strategy for snagging a last-minute spot. The code for the Yosemite bot is posted on GitHub, a code-sharing website. Anyone who finds the code and understands it can use it. It was written by Brian Hansen, another computer engineer based in San Francisco. Hansen is a rock climber and, like most climbers, he sees Yosemite as a mecca.
Specialists in internet law say that these bots fall into a legal gray area. Even if it is legally binding, most prosecutors will only go after people who are trying to make money or steal business from the site. Andrea Matwyshyn specializes in technology and innovation policy at Northeastern University.
Some might say that Streeter and Hansen are problem-solving in an innovative way. Their bots create more free time and could potentially be the start of businesses that create jobs. Streeter has thought about fairness. He says he could automate the whole process and have a bot that completes his booking for him.
If he made a faster or more advanced bot, no human could compete with it. And faster, more advanced bots have been built in similar contexts. Bots have been used to gain advantage in the Bay Area restaurant scene, too. Matwyshyn believes there needs to be space for innovation, but if not everyone has the same access to technology, it raises a lot of questions.
The contractor running reserveamerica. But because they work for California State Parks, they did respond to Brian Ketterer, its southern field division chief.Sign up here.
State and national parks believe they have gained the upper hand in a war against software bots that monopolize campground and trailhead reservations. As the reservation season gets underway — with key reservations dates imminent the morning of Jan. On Oct. The system requires each user to start fresh and sign in with a new password, which operators say allows them verify and identify each as a real person. They hope that translates to no more tech wizards using bots to game the system.
At the same time, the state parks reservation system, ReserveCalifornia, made the same changes, as well as a few others, to fight software bots. The problem was simple and inescapable: Campsites at many marquee state parks, such as Sunset on Monterey Bay, were listed as booked full, day-after-day.
But upon inspection, authorities often revealed unoccupied campsites, to the chagrin of many. In an extreme case, rangers at Yosemite National Park tracked an encounter where Half Dome climbing permits were being resold on Craigslist, according to park headquarters.
As a result, reservation services, with oversight from state and national parks and the U. Forest Service, overhauled their systems and protocols for this winter. In addition, both state and national parks have banned the re-sale of reservations.
As part of its overhaul, reservation service ReserveCalifornia. A rolling window means the exact date, six months out, is available each ensuing day. That tweak ends the first-of-the-month crush when dates for an entire month became available at a single moment, such as when the clock ticked 8 a. Each month, thousands competed in a monthly scramble when they tried to book campsites online. Many of the more popular sites sold out for an entire month within hours. That has been fixed, Moreno believes.
The reservation services have been enhanced to show dates that are booked by site, as well as next date a site is available.