Early check-In?

Discussion in 'Campground Etiquette' started by Jhunt012, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. Jhunt012

    Jhunt012 Member

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    We have reservations for Monday and Tuesday nights of this upcoming week. Can't imagine it should be too crowded during the week but just wondering about getting there before the check in time.

    Check in time is at 1 o'clock. Any recommendations for when I should get there and start looking for a site? For example, if I get there at 11 o'clock and there is an open site I assume I can go ahead and start setting up? I called the camp office but no one is answering the phone. And experience that you have that you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    If you have reservations, why are you looking for a site? Generally, if you have reservations, you have picked out a site, unless it is a campground where they are assigned to you as you arrive. We encounter that less these days in public campgrounds, though it seems to be the norm in private ones.

    If you are actually going to a "first come-first serve" campground:
    Usually if a site is unoccupied - no indication of residency, such as chairs, signs, etc., it is fair game. Many campgrounds have tags on posts that will indicate when if the site has been taken or reserved and when it ends.
    When folks start leaving seems to vary a lot. We've been in places where it seems that people get up and begin to leave by 7 a.m. or so, in others - especially on weekends - they are pushing the limits of check-out time.
    One thing we have encountered in places where it is FCFS and payment is by a vending machine is that we could not pay for the site we chose, even though the people had left, until check-out time.
     
  3. GA Judy

    GA Judy Active Member

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    Many times we have arrived early or even later than posted check in time. COEs and SPs usually allow early arrival check in if the site is empty; otherwise, you will have to wait until it is vacated and becomes "your" site. Private CGs usually will not allow you to set up really early on the day you arrive; but if they do, there is usually a partial day charge. It just depends on the CG and their strict or loose policies.
     
  4. SmilinBeard

    SmilinBeard Member

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    I've been to some campgrounds [VA State Parks] that you can make reservations online but not for a particular site. In those cases, we found an empty site, dropped off something to hold it, and went to the office to check in and register for that site. Can't say about how they feel about early arrivals, because we invariably get caught in traffic on I95.

    At the other campgrounds we've been to, State and Federal, and you select a specific site on-line. Often we arrive on a Monday, and can tell from the on-line reservation service that the previous campers, were slated to leave Sunday afternoon. We arrive, there is a card of some kind with our name and check-out date. We pull in and all is cool.

    Alternately, if I am leaving [particularly on a Sunday] I'm prone to ask for a late check-out. If nobody is arriving that afternoon, they are usually fine with that.
     
  5. exploreco

    exploreco Active Member

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    Do you have a specific site? We have gone early before but checked the rules before hand and have always been told if no one is still on it then you are good. Only one time on a Sunday where we were early in our travels we tried to get on early and the people were still on so we just drove around fir awhile.
     
  6. Jhunt012

    Jhunt012 Member

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    Thanks Everybody for taking the time to reply. The reservations are NON-site specific. They have a certain number of 20' or less trailer sites with electricity. It's a State Park in GA. I've not been there so I'm not really sure how each site varies and if there is even much difference between them.

    They say check-in and check-out is at 1:00. I will try calling again tomorrow but have been unsuccessful the last couple days. We're going to get there on Monday.
     
  7. GA Judy

    GA Judy Active Member

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    Jhunt, I hope you get someone to answer the CG phone to give you an answer. It's possible because you're in between Labor Day and "foliage season" that you would find some good sites if you arrive early. Usually if there is someone on a specific reserved site, you would have to wait until they check out (and we had to wait 1/2 hr. beyond check out time last fall at McKinney - annoying); however, since it is a SP and non-specific, you can always drive through and check out each open site and choose one. Good luck.
     
  8. SHFL

    SHFL Active Member

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    Sometimes you can preview the sites at www.campsitephotos.com. It helps to see if any of the sites have a tree in the middle.
     
  9. SmilinBeard

    SmilinBeard Member

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    I second that! I was trying to pick a site at a state park in PA. Reserve America had tiny photos that I could not get to blow up. campsitephotos gave me a good feel for what I was picking.
     
  10. oldstick

    oldstick New Member

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    Never had any problems at any of the state parks in GA, and pretty sure we have pulled in at least once or twice before the check-in time. As long as there are sites open that you like, in the reserved category, There should be no problem. Same with most hotels we have stayed, if they have rooms available already cleaned and ready, go ahead on check-in.

    Only one time, at Skidaway Island SP, did they seem too concerned about the check-out times either. Even on Sunday the rangers came around about an hour before time to remind you. I suppose they expected a high turn-over that day and wanted as many sites open as possible for the arrivals to choose from.
     

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