Search This Blog

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reservations Make My Head Spin

I’m usually a pretty patient person.  I try not to let things bother me too much, it doesn’t help one’s life expectancy letting every little thing get under your skin.  There is one thing that drives me absolutely bonkers, though.  It’s trying to make reservations at campgrounds.

It used to be easy, you’d look up a campground and they’d have listed their campground rates.  Now it seems that many of them won’t let you know what the nightly rate is unless you go through a laborious matrix of picking dates, providing your credit card information and then they’ll tell you the rate.  I don’t always know what dates I’ll be there and just want to research for the most bang for my bucks.

I especially am not fond of the Reserve America system that so many campgrounds are defaulting to for their reservation system.  Not only do they charge you for the privilege of letting them make your reservation, if you have to make an adjustment to the dates you’re going to be at the reserved campground, they ding you a penalty fee.

I’ve just spent a couple of hours looking for campgrounds outside of St. Louis, MO.  Our son Ryan, and his family just transferred to Ryan’s new assignment,


the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cheyenne, homeported in St. Louis, MO.



The Cheyenne is a river tender, it has the responsibility to maintain navigational aids (buoys, channel markers and such) up and down large stretches of the Mississippi River. 


Built in the early 1960’s this cutter will be quite a challenge for Ryan to keep running in top condition, but then, he’s the man for the job.  It will be a three year tour for him unless he promotes himself out of a job again like he did in his last assignment.

So we’re researching campgrounds just west of St. Louis where they’ll be living (we’re open to any suggestions).  We want to spend some time visiting them in September and look forward to many more visits over the next several years.

Back to the campground search, we hope to find something close by that doesn’t eat our budget alive.  KOA?  No thanks!  They must think pretty highly of themselves to charge that outrageous fee per night.  I guess I’ll just have to spend more time looking at other campgrounds and state parks and suffer through the crazy reservation system. *sigh* 

Good thing I’m retired.

But it will be worth it all when we get to see the girls once again.



Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Reserve American is a big pain:( We still mostly call the campground direct on the phone and most still seem to take a reservation that way.

  2. OK, my eyes glazed over as soon as you said you were "patient". Huh?
    *rolls eyes*

    We only got burned once for not making reservations ahead of time, but I never wanted to be tied down to being some place at a certain time. If there's no room at the Inn, then I figured there was always Wally World.

  3. You have been reading my blog.....thank goodness....I just complained about being tied down to reservations. I've had to use Reserve America so much in the Florida State parks over David's illness that I'd actually forgotten that they charge a fee. They charge the same fee if you reserve at the campground, no break. If they have to use the system, which they do then you pay. Why don't they just say it's a TAX?? That's what it is. Any COE campground nearby there? They are always nice and fairly inexpensive though not FHU. I've never been to Missouri except flying in.

  4. making reservations? don't like it much either mostly because we, here in BC have to plan so far in advance..and then for a popular park on an equally popular weekend the sites are snatched up very quickly..and then there is the weather that always throws it all off!!

  5. ugh. . .I so hear ya. . .I was so confused over the rates at a NY SP that I contacted my RV friend Margery to find out what they were paying, since I knew they were staying there the same time we were, and already had their reservations made. . .

    We were just in St Louis, but stayed at the Casino Queen, which was sorta pricey. . .don't forget though that St Louis Indiana is just a stonesthrow away. . .good luck!

  6. I've never had the pleasure of running across Reserve America - just as well, from the sounds of it.

    Whatever you have to pay it will be worth it just to be close to those cute grandkids.

  7. We just left St. Louis area. Our son and family is in O'Fallon. We usually stay on the base, but we found a great RV park in Edwardsville just off 55 which is close to St Louis and fast with the highway.

    Red Barn Rendezvous Edwardsville, IL
    They take passport amer, and it's cheaper by the month, but good price per week too for that area. We really enjoyed our stay and there's lots of shopping and a really neat downtown 3 miles away. Check it out on That's where we get most of the RV parks we stay. Good luck. We'll be following to see where you end up.

  8. I must be missing something regarding Reserve America. I have used them occasionally for reservations for Florida State parks and have never seen a "fee". I've seen taxes. I just double checked an old reservation and I saw a local option tax and a sales tax. These are both Florida taxes and there is no other fee. Is it because we are Florida residents and have reserved sites in Florida?

    Anyway...I agree it's a pain to have to literally book the site before you can find out their nightly rate.

    To research sites I use Passport America, Allstays phone app for rv parks, and Microsoft Streets and Trips. I find I can usually get the website and then call to make a reservation or find if they have room.

    Can't help you out in St. Louis, but I'll bet if you went onto, and asked for help, someone would make some suggestions.

    It's nice your son got the promotion, but it was nicer then they were both in the same side of the country, wasn't it?

  9. My only advise to you going to the St. Louis area is DON'T go in the Spring! Ask Jim & Dee. They are changing their schedule to visit in the Fall :)

  10. Can't help with the RV Park ... the one time we were in St L was before the MH and we stayed Scott AFB lodgings. Sorry ... hopefully you'll find something suitable without too much hassle.

  11. I think I've used it once or twice in the past but it was for a state park so I already knew the price. However, I certainly wouldn't want to provide credit card information before I knew the price. That wouldn't happen at all!

  12. All of the Oregon State Parks use Reserve America. At the more popular parks, if you show up without a reservation, they will only guaranty your stay for TWO nights. If someone makes a reservation online, you get bumped. And yes, there is an $8 reservation fee. Sorry can't help you with MO. but I understand your frustration. Congrats to your son on his promotion.

  13. Be sure to check out the COE campgrounds! They are all along the Mississippi River. We stayed in one and it was wonderful!

  14. We always stayed at Sundermeier. It is a little expensive. However, you can walk or bike to old St. Charles where there are lots of shops and dining. A very fun area. It is just across the Missouri river.

    Pere Marquette State Park is also nice it s across the Illinois river so you would have to take a ferry or drive through Alton IL. Great Fried chicken on Sundays at the lodge.

    If you want to go further west Meramac state park is nice but about 60 miles west of St. Louis.

    Most of the private campgrounds around St. Louis are a bit suspect but these are nice.

    Lake Carlisle is also nice but that is east of St. Louis

  15. We don't usually reserve just cruise around, good luck am sure you will find something suitable.

  16. We stayed at a wonderful COE, Carlyle Lake, IL which is east of St Louis by about an hour.

  17. We stayed at the Casino Campground just across the River from the Arch. Big parking lot. Had to stay there because the campground we planned on staying at was underwater as the Mississippi was flooding;o)) Wish we had a good solution for you;o(

    I don't mind reserve america. We don't pay a fee in Florida, but in the rest of the states we do. I like that I can usually get a good photo of each site and see exactly what is available by map, date and date range!!

    I really wish it wasn't necessary to make reservations but the rv world is getting crowded!!!

  18. I've only used Reserve America a couple of times. Hate that fee. Out west here, most of the time you can get a site without a reservation except on the week-ends.

  19. Did not know the Coast Guard was on the Mississippi river! Why is that weird to me? Guess just always thought they were sea going...

  20. Hi Paul & Marti, we lived in St Louis until three and a half years ago when we went full time in our 4 0 foot motorhome. We love St Louis and go back there at least once a year to visit family friends and doctors. However, we are disappointed in the lack of good campgrounds in the area.
    We now stay at Lakeside 370, in St Peters Missouri,about 20 miles from downtown. a city owned park with 50 sites, 125 acre lake, and a five mile paved walking path. The park is about 4 years old so the trees are very small with very little shade. However it was built to accommodate large rigs with wide streets, crushed gravel sites, with plenty of room for slides and awnings. The price, we think is reasonable, you pay for 6 nights and get the 7th one free. You can only stay for 60 days a year. And you can rent canoes. kayaks, bikes etc. With that said, St Louis is prone to flooding in the spring and sometimes late fall. And they have been known to have to evacuate this park. We experienced this happening in the spring but never in September.
    But we really like it and it is always our first choice. Sundemeier RV park is located in an adjoining township of St Charles Missouri. We think it is very pricey although it's fairly easy In and out. It is basically a paved parking lot with hookups. But it has a train that runs over head that is very annoying. And the owners are very hard to do business with. Babler State Park is a beautiful park with a campground. The streets are paved as are most of the sites. They have some 50 amp sites, but no water or sewer hookups. However some sites are close enough to a water spigot that you can keep your tanks filled. And they have a nice dump station. However, as in most state parks you can only stay for 14 days. It fills up fast on the weekends and there are not as many sites that will accommodate a large rig. Jellystone Park in Eureka Missouri has a really steep entrance hill and very tight sites we have never tried to stay there. And we too are not thrilled with KOA's however the one off of
    I-44- Route 66 KOA will do in a pinch. The prices aren't quitnd Ae as high as many other KOA's and it is easy access to the highway and all parts of the city. There are a few other parks much further out that we have tried but our family is in Central St Louis and our doctors are downtown so we have a tendency to use Lakeside 370, Route 66 KOA and Babler the most. Feel free to call if you have any questions 636-236-7208. We will be there in September too and would love to meet you!
    Joan and Ron
    Scotts see in

    1. Thank you so much for the information, it certainly helps us out. We're looking to see the kids in September, they are renting a house in Labadie, MO.

      Please keep in touch, our email address is at the top and bottom of our blog.

      Thanks again!

    2. Babler State Park is closest to Labadie with the KOA being the next closest. Although we have a family member who lives in Labadie and takes us about 45 minutes from Lakeside 370. But what the heck....driving is our life!

  21. I always thought that KOA charges as much as a motel, but they don't come clean your rig....

  22. I have this thing against making reservations and have so far avoiding doing that. It just seems so opposite to the lifestyle.