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Post Info TOPIC: Clues to Reserve America??


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Clues to Reserve America??
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Can anyone help me to figure out the secret to getting a 2 week reservation using Reserve America for any of the state parks in the Keys?

I'm trying to reserve for next winter and every time I go on to say Bahia Honda it shows that I am outside the reservation window and everything inside is reserved.

How are those folks getting those reservations?   There must be some secret?  Midnight Sunday night?  or ????????????

Can anyone advise??

thanks
Sherry



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Sherry, it has been my experience that when you are outside of the reservation window they show everything as reserved.  Don't ask me why, but I have seen it before.  I guess it's just there way of blocking you out so you cant make a reservation.

 

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What I'm finding is when I am inside the reservation window.  They take reservations 11 months out supposedly but it doesn't matter what date I try, everything is R for reserved.   they use X for days you can't reserve yet.  If you look for February 7 - 11 months out from today and every day in January before that, you'll find they are all reserved.

What I'm trying to figure out is how these people who make those reservations do it since I try every day and they are always totally reserved.   I was hoping someone knew the key to this.



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Getting a reservation in a SP in the keys is one step above hitting the lottery - I doubt that it can be done! We will be staying at an RV park in Miami and then drive our Toad down to the keys for a 1-2 day stay. Next to Passport America - Reserve America is the most frustration expeerience!!!

I think the reservations are FIXED!!!!

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Any of the state parks in the keys are next to impossible to reserve a site in during the winter months. We have talked to many people including a park ranger who told us to get logged in, pick a site and be ready to hit "reserve" at exactly midnight and you might get lucky and get in. We have also been told that you can reserve ahead of the dates you want and then as the later dates become available, you have first choice to "extend" your stay and then go back and cancel the ones you do not want. Again,using the "midnight rule". Have not either of these methods personally, but have talked those who have said it works.

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I believe that when the first date becomes available, you have the option to reserve ahead of the date. But you have to pounce on the date pretty much when it first becomes available at midnight. Stay up this evening and try for anything that is open from the first open day on (shows an 'x' not a 'R'). I believe I just saw one of the cabins available on Feb 7, and all dates after it are marked with a little 'a' in a triangle - indicating that I can book them as long as I include the first open date in the window (Feb 7). I am assuming campsites will work the same when they meet that criteria as well.

Good luck... as others have said, it's kinda like playing the lottery. If you find one open, don't hesitate a micro-second.

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Sherry, we tried for 5 years straight to get a reservation in the Keys for the Christmas-New Year holiday without success.  You can reserve 11 months in advance and evidently the available campsites open up at 8 AM each morning.  Only the first day of your reservation must be in the 11 month ahead window and the rest of the days that follow can fall into the non-reservable time period.

I met a couple a few years back who managed to get a reservation in the time period we were looking at.  He said at 7:55 the morning the reservation window opened he and his wife were on 2 computers simultaneously constantly trying to reserve campsites.  At 8:00:01 they got lucky and out of all the parks in the Keys managed to get one.

Most state parks have non-reservable sites.  You might call each park and see what the likelihood of getting one of those would be if you just showed up.  A long shot but you never know.



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The Municipal parks are very nice - a lot cheaper - did I mention a lot cheaper and in most cases can be reserved well ahead - no 11 month rules. We just reserved a month in a Miami/Dade county park for 3/15-4/15 (which is the time we needed.) I've tried the midnight attempt and it does not work - I've had computers fired up at 7:55am - NO CIGAR - I sincerely believe the reservations are somehow rigged.

You could spend the rest of your life trying and 99.9% chance you'll never get that reservation.
The other problem - the State Parks take all your money up front - you have to pay the entire fee! The municipal parks for the most part require a $50 deposit.



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Municipal Parks sound like a great idea Painter.  Is there anywhere to get a list of them or do I have to check every county and city?   Thanks for the tip!

Oh BTW, I had a seconds clock this morning tryng to get into the keys.  Had the site ready, clicked at exactly 8:00:00 and it said I was too early.  8:00:02...too early....8:00:04......too early......8:00:06 it was already taken.  I'm becoming more and more suspicious for sure.



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Sherry - This is the one we reserved at in Miami/Dade county and I think you can do other searches from this site

http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/parks/larry_penny.asp

We also reserved in Jacksonville for the end of October 2012

At Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

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Sherry - we also found some nice privaet parks in the Punta Gorda area and are staying Nov & Dec 2012 at Shell Creek Rv Resort in the Punta Gorda Area and at Big Tree RV resort in Acadia for Jan-Feb-Mar 2013

These are part of the Carefree RV Resorts which are IMHO quite nice - not the keys but palm trees, ocean and warm weather just the same.

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We like both Larry and Penny Thompson in Miami and Hanna Park in Jacksonville.  We will be at Hanna Park a week starting on the 19th.  

Get your Miami Metrozoo tickets from Thompson park, they are much cheaper. Though the back of the campground borders the back of the zoo, it is still many miles to the zoo entrance.  The campground is in an old avocado orchard, we had avocados from the trees in our October stay. They are mild avocados with smooth skins.

Hanna Park is on the Atlantic Ocean but the campground is inland enough to not have salt air issues.  It is a nice walk/bike ride out to the beach.  Don't expect satellite to work well at Hanna, you are under trees.   We have spent a lot of time at Hanna Park, we have friends that are more like family who live a few miles away.

Right now we are in Wildwood, Florida, very close to The Villages, http://thevillages.com/ .  If The Villages was in the West we would seriously think of buying there when we decide to settle down.  (Most all our family is in the West from California to Alaska).  It is like no other place we have seen.  Right now 85,000 residents live there at least some of the year with restaurants, stores, pools and recreation available via golf car(t).  Even if you have no interest in buying there the tour is free and we do shop and eat out there.



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Thanks for the helpful tips Bill - appreciate it. We will be in Florida from late October 2012 to mid April 2013 and then we head to AZ an on up the CA coast/Oregon & over to Montana-ish then down and hit Utah-Colorado-AZ and back down into Florida for 5 - 6 months.

If Shell Creek and/or Big Tree RV resorts work for us we will most likely stay at either for 5-6 months into 2013 as we are investigating Punta Gorda & Bonita Springs for for an off season condo down the road (so to speak) :>)

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I have also been trying for 4 weeks to reserve a site in the Keys. As mentioned they open up at 8 am. I have 2 computers, an ipad and an iphone all clicking away trying to reserve. it goes from " too early to reserve" to inventory "not available". i did manage to get two weeks- someone must have made a mistake, and at 8:10 a site re-opened up and I grabbed it. I don't try often anymore. we are in CA and have to be up by 4:45 am to do this. If you do get a site, you can book it for 2 weeks but you can't make any changes for 18 days so you can't move the dates once its booked.
food for thought- Long key SP is not accepting any reservations, but once the renovations are finished in May, the whole year will open up at once.
Also, I called and talked to the reservation people and asked if there is a trick and she said "persistance".
good luck!

Sue

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Thanks to you all for the many tips.  I'm definitely checking out the alternatives so I may see you all down the road there.

 Sue, how do you do 4 devices with only two hands?  LOL............that's amazing.   But I feel your frustration and I'm experiencing it too.  Not sure I'll last as long  as you did trying this.  Hard not to feel it's rigged.   I think if I ever manage to get in, I'm going to take my reporter's notebook with me and "interview" everyone else there to see how they got their spot.  Might be some very interesting storiesl.



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I lived in SoFla for many years, graduated in Miami and spent most weekends & summers on Plantation Key at my Grandparents' home. The Keys have changed a LOT since the 1970's & 1980's, but they are still on many traveler's bucket lists.

For RVers, IF you can NOT get into/afford or want to take the RV all the way to Keys, THE BEST RV park in SoFla (that I know of) is a county park near Hollywood, FL - called Markham Park. VERY nice park with lots of amenities. Close to services such as groceries, gas stations, restaurants and the freeway down to the Keys.

Nina + Paul spent a winter there (Wheeling IT blog)
http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/cp-campground-rating-markham-park-sunrise-fl/

Check it out before you book elsewhere. I think you will be VERY pleased with Markham.

 

Edit by moderator:  Activated link.  Terry



-- Edited by Terry and Jo on Sunday 11th of March 2012 04:24:37 PM

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Hi All,
I live in Navarre, Fl (panhandle of Florida) and just letting everyone know - they just opened a new RV park right on the sound. If you were driving South on Hwy 87, it is at the end of 87 on hwy 98. They just opened it in the past month or two. It is right on hwy 98, so probably good for passing through, not staying for too long.

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Looks like a great park but $40 a night is far in excess of my budget.  With the taxes it woud be even worse.   Nina & Paul must have a terrific income if they could spend a month there and contemplate spending the entire winter.  I was just hoping for a week in the keys  at a state park but it is clear there is some sort of inside game going on.  Wish I could interview all the folks camped there in January and February to find out how they managed to get a reservation through Reserve America



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Hello guys,

I crossed that thread and thought I should comment - even tho the thread is 4-5 years old.  I am one of those going every winter in Florida's Keys state parks.

I wouldn't say www.reserveamerica.com is rigged...  you must understand that these are the nicest campsites/stateparks available (that I travelled to anyway).  So like I read a bit earlier in this thread:  it's sort of like winning the lottery.  I can easily understand how hard it can be to get a single 14-days reservation, EVEN if you try for 5 consecutives years.  You have to understand HOW MANY PEOPLE are clicking for the 2-3 ocean-front campsites that becomes available on that specific morning.

If you just use the 2 home computers, your daughter and son on their ipads, you have NO CHANCE.  Unfortunately, this is not enough.  I learned you must be way more serious about it.  There are MANY, many tricks to help you do it and even then, it's far from being a sure thing!

It happened that when I could not get into BAHIA HONDA, I had to resort to going to LONG KEY or CURRY HAMMOCK, or PENNECAMP.. or such.

If you need serious tips, you can mail me:  benlau@distromtl.com - but I'm not sure if this forum will show my email.  Anyway I should be warned by email of any replies done here..

Good luck to all!!!

Ben



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Ben,

It is better to NOT revive old threads because some of the information in earlier comments could be out of date and the information in them no longer valid.  However, subsequent readers may not notice the age of the original postings and may think that all the information stated is true and up to date.

For all other readers, keep in mind that a number of changes could have been made in the nearly 4 years and little here may be valid.  Also, since this is Ben's first ever comment here, I'm not sure that I'd be willing to send an e-mail to him and chance how my e-mail address might be used.

Terry



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HEllo!

I cannot quite argue with the email part.  In nowaday's 'internets' :)

If anyone have the 'courage' to reach me, you may want to choose an email you don't care about.... I don't know about you guys, but I have some email I use if I am ever scared of being spammed.

Have a nice day!

 

EDIT: (but still useless to say) I have absolutely no intention of spamming anyone. Anyway, spam has become so big, I just deleted them.  I don't even think it can frustrate me anymore.. unless it's PHONE spam.  This can get on my nerves :)



-- Edited by BenLau on Sunday 20th of March 2016 01:44:20 PM

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THis particular thread isn't out of date even though 4 years old. Not sure it will ever be out of date and I appreciate your comment Ben and will email you straight away.

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Hi. I'm in the same situation with reserveamerica as you were. Have you figured out how and WHEN to make a reservation?  Thanks for any help you can offer. Alicia 



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Agreed it's still not out of date. Reserving campsites on RA is just as hard as it has ever been. We never can get the oceanfront spots on our campsite, but we usually get a spot somewhere by doing the midnight-two-weeks-in-advance thing. The funny thing is, you come to the campsite, and the oceanfront spots are filled with the fancy half-a-million dollar RVs; it makes me wonder if there is some kind of scalping agency or service that rents them to people who pay enough. I'm pretty sure they use lots and lots of computers to cheat on the reservation page (kind of like Ticketmaster scalpers).

I really wish the national park service required that ReserveAmerica switch to a lottery system where any number of people can apply to reserve a site, and then every week they run a lottery and give it to one of the registrants. It would still be hard to get a site, but this way at least the game is not rigged in favor of people who can pay a lot, or cheat with robot computers. With the current system the little guy has no chance.

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Reservedcamper, where in particular are you finding it hard to get a spot.  I finally managed the keys last winter when it rained nearly every day for 2 weeks.  I didn't have water front at all three campgrounds but I did at two of them.  I booked November and December rather than January and February which are the most popular.  



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I WISH it had only been two weeks of rain, it rained the entire two MONTHS.   It was a rare day we didn't have rain or strong winds, thus we could seldom go kayaking and almost never snorkeling.  Unless you have a boat of your own and/or really like to party I sure don't get "Just another day in paradise".  It sure wasn't paradise for those 60 days and we won't bother trying for campsites there again.  Not to say we didn't enjoy Key West and the Turtle Hospital but 2 weeks would have been quite enough thank you.



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Its possible, We were in Key West last year and on the day (11 months) that reservations could be made I was up for the fun to begin. Dec 11th- Dec. 24th. Those are dates I was shooting for. So I open everything up and put in info and then waited with my laptop enter key just a touch away. As the second ticked I waited patiently. Well when the clock hit 0759 and 59 secs. I hit the enter key. Well first thing came up no reservation then in frustration I hit it again and up pops the spot we in. Pure luck I say, but its possible. I came running out door of rv in excitement and the neighbor ask whats the special occasion and I go we got in at Bahia and she goes no way we have four laptops online and couldn't do it. I smiled.

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I am more than ever available to help you secure the campsite you need. Now that www.reserveamerica.com is using a captcha, I am pretty sure all those scripts and bots are struggling to get those. I've noticing how easily I can get quite any oceanfront campsite in some state parks that are usually impossible to get.

Needs tips and tricks, contact me!
benlau@distromtl.com

...happy camping everyone!!!!

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Note to all:

While I can't say anything negative about BenLau, I can say that in the nearly 2 years that he has been registered with RV Dreams, he has only posted 3 times now and only in this thread.  I can only caution anyone with regard to using his "services."

Terry



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You're right.  The only reason I've actually subscribed to this forum was because of that already existing thread regarding camping reservations.

Not a member = can't post!



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Here's a tip for improve your chances using ReserveAmerica to secure a site at popular Florida state parks. The FL state parks reservation window opens at 8:00 am exactly eleven months before the first day of your preferred arrival date. Many people are accessing the same park at that time though, often with multiple computers, etc., and as a result, some end up locking up multiple sites. Those sites are then removed from the available pool for 15 minutes to allow the reservations to be finalized. Once they choose the site they prefer and complete the reservation process, the remaining sites are returned to the pool when the 15 minutes times out. So, go back and check again at the 15 minute mark and you may be surprised to find a few sites are again available. That tip has worked for us multiple times, including getting sites in the popular full hookup loop at Myakka River SP and other hard to book locations like the nice ocean view site in the Beach loop we just left at Ft Clinch SP. Give it a try...

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I'd say it's a good trick to keep on looking, as you said, 15 minutes later or later in the day.

I am not sure about one single guy (even with help of friends) getting to 'lockup' a batch of sites, and then decide which to keep.  It's already hard enough to succesfully getting just ONE..... I kinda doubt it.  BUT if that was the case, remember that if the user clicks 'EMPTY CART' and abandons a campsite, it becomes available right away (so, after 2-3-4 minutes).

The 15-minutes delay will apply only if the user let the campsite expire in their shoppinh-cart.  (example:  by simply closing the browser without emptying the cart)

I'd say it's best to concentrate all efforts on getting the campsite as soon as it becomes available (8:00:00am).  I see so many services/scripts/bots online scraping for campsites becoming available that there might be some competition there anyway.

Be worry free and contact me :)

Have a great day, fellow campers!

 



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Sherry wrote:

Can anyone help me to figure out the secret to getting a 2 week reservation using Reserve America for any of the state parks in the Keys?

I'm trying to reserve for next winter and every time I go on to say Bahia Honda it shows that I am outside the reservation window and everything inside is reserved.

How are those folks getting those reservations?   There must be some secret?  Midnight Sunday night?  or ????????????

Can anyone advise??

thanks
Sherry


 Sherry,

It's best to assume you WON'T get a reservation in the keys. This isn't just a Reserve America issue, however. Many hotels have the same thing happen and it has a lot to do with people that go for the same dates every single year. While you are trying to reserve online, I believe the state parks will allow those that have just stayed with them to reserve the same dates the following year before they leave. 

It is a bit of a fixed system, but it is what it is. 

There are a few things you can do here. 

One, choose a private RV park (gonna spend some cash here) and book it at least 6 months in advance. Even these book up fast.

Two, stay in the Miami area and hope for a cancellation in the Keys. Miami parks book up fast (state parks there are just as bad) so book this early, too. Call the state park daily for cancellations and if they have one, jump on it. Yes, you may pay for both miami and the keys at the same time to make this work, but some have used this trick to get to go to the keys.

Three, log on to the Reserve America system daily at the time it opens in the morning (I think it's 7am or 8am EST) and hope you win the lottery. 

Florida isn't an easy play to RV during the season if you're on a budget. Most of the state parks are hard to get into. Even the one we stayed at near St. Augustine, we were only able to book two nights because most everything was reserved.

Best of luck to you and because I have been there and done it, my prayers are with you on this one.

Benjamin Ehinger



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