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 > Florida State Parks Early Reservation

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Dutch Oven Man

Tennessee

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Posted: 05/27/22 06:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We’ve been camping for over 30 years, so not a newbie here, but apparently I still have not learned the tricks for Florida state park reservations.

Back in the day (pre-COVID) we could almost always find a reservation 3-4 months out for even the most popular State Parks outside of maybe the Key’s or a few other places. Nowadays, it’s seems you have to attempt to reserve 11 months+14 days at exactly 8:00 EST AM to even have a chance. But what is really odd, even dates that would not be considered popular and “out of season”, like February in the Panhandle on a Wednesday, are snatched up quicker at 8:00 AM than you can physically even hit the buttons. I just don’t see how it’s possible that every single site for every single day on a one day reservation in the middle of the week can be snatched up so quickly.

Is there some trick I’m missing, or a bot running in the background that is grabbing all these sites? Forget a holiday weekend, I never see reservations open for those. I’ve been running a “test” getting on at exactly 8:00 AM 11months+14 days to book a site preparing for a holiday weekend in 2023, and even just random dates I can’t seem to get a site quick enough. What gives?

goducks10

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Posted: 05/27/22 07:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Record RV sales for the last 5 years has a lot to do with it.

agesilaus

North Florida

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Posted: 05/27/22 08:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First there are bots that people use to grab sites, there is a fee attached to use these. I probably should not mention this since it will encourage people to use them.
Second FL Parks are very popular and hard to reserve
Third the FL Park reservation system seems to be ...ah fouled up. We tried to reserve a spot at a local park, Pad length 30 feet site length 61 feet. the website showed openings. But we could not log in since the software insisted that our address was not in the official US list of addresses. A big surprise since we have been getting mail there for 30 years. Tried a neighbors address, same response.
Called the reservation phone number, the women there was adamant those sites were tents only?! Drove out to the park and looked at those sites, they had RV's in them. The sites are dirt, no pads, and plenty long enough. And wide enough to park truck next to the RV which is 30 feet long.
Gave up.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 05/27/22 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree that it is time for Florida to clean up their state park reservation act.


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Retired JSO

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Posted: 05/27/22 01:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We were Florida residents until 2020. We always booked popular Florida and Georgia state parks 12 months in advance. For 10 years in a row, we would book Rainbow Springs SP every Christmas/New Year and Goldhead SP every Thanksgiving. Up until, 2018, we never worried because we could get the site we wanted. Now it has become a lot harder. Our Georgia SP’s are upgrading with a lot more offering 50 amp and sewer. Vogel SP in our county has started to upgrade every site adding sewer, half being closed during the makeover. I understand ST Andrews in Florida has added paved roads and sewer.





Camper445

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Posted: 05/28/22 09:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Florida residents have been bellyaching (and rightly so) about the state parks since before the internet. It has nothing to do with RV sales, bots, or anything other than snowbirds. They game the system to no end and have done so forever, moving from park tobpark or site to site to avoid stay limits along with other tactics such as having friends and family reserve for them. The poor Florida working guy with family, who has to schedule camping around vacation schedules and approvals etc, is forced to camp in the off season for the most part at FL state parks. Nothing new here.

Dutch_12078

Winters south, summers north

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Posted: 05/28/22 05:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have our next winter Georgia and Florida state park stays booked into next April, all with our preferred sites. As said, you need to be ready to click at exactly the moment the reservation windows open, 11 months ahead in Florida and 13 months ahead in Georgia. I haven't timed it with Florida's new system, but one trick with Reserve America parks if you don't get in the first time, is to go back again 15 minutes later. Many people have multiple windows open ready to click on, and they sometimes hit on more than one site. While they complete the process for one site, the others are released back into the system in 15 minutes. That has gotten us into some popular parks on several occasions in the past few years. Some park systems have tried to control the "book two weeks ahead and then change the dates later" game by not allowing any changes for at least 18 days. When you go back to make the change then, your preferred dates may already be taken.


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Camper445

Sticks

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Posted: 05/28/22 05:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dutch_12078 wrote:

We have our next winter Georgia and Florida state park stays booked into next April, all with our preferred sites. As said, you need to be ready to click at exactly the moment the reservation windows open, 11 months ahead in Florida and 13 months ahead in Georgia. I haven't timed it with Florida's new system, but one trick with Reserve America parks if you don't get in the first time, is to go back again 15 minutes later. Many people have multiple windows open ready to click on, and they sometimes hit on more than one site. While they complete the process for one site, the others are released back into the system in 15 minutes. That has gotten us into some popular parks on several occasions in the past few years. Some park systems have tried to control the "book two weeks ahead and then change the dates later" game by not allowing any changes for at least 18 days. When you go back to make the change then, your preferred dates may already be taken.


Proof to confirm my previous comment. Snowbirds gaming the system.

bucky

Raleigh metro

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Posted: 05/29/22 03:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't want to hear any boohooing from FL state residents. Without our snow bird money a lot of small business's would dry up and blow away. As it is I watch tags in FL state parks and just speaking from my personal experience I would say half of them are FL.
I've met some FL residents that rent out their homes and get half price geezer discounts or work as hosts during the peak winter season. One nice couple's fancy house is less than 5 miles away from the CG they host every winter.
So who's gaming who?


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cptqueeg

Idaho

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Posted: 05/29/22 07:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dutch Oven Man wrote:

snip...I just don’t see how it’s possible that every single site for every single day on a one day reservation in the middle of the week can be snatched up so quickly.

Is there some trick I’m missing, or a bot running in the background that is grabbing all these sites? Forget a holiday weekend, I never see reservations open for those. I’ve been running a “test” getting on at exactly 8:00 AM 11months+14 days to book a site preparing for a holiday weekend in 2023, and even just random dates I can’t seem to get a site quick enough. What gives?


People are booking far ahead, and then modifying their reservation. For instance, they'll reserve a Wednesday the first day it's available and that opens up the next 13 days that aren't available yet. They'll reserve the 14 days w the intention of only using some of the 14 days of the reservation. When the waiting period to make changes is over they'll give back those days to the system. As those dates go back into the system the commercial bots notify clients of availability and it's reserved again in a heartbeat.

There are bots, there is loads of competition on top of that, and there are those that have figured out how to make a profit on a public good.

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