Night Registration: Are Late Arrivals Worth the Hassle

Night registration can vary quite greatly from one campground, RV resort, and state park to another. Each park will have found how it works best for them, with their specific property, staff and customer base. But not every parks night registration and after hour arrival process will suit each traveler passing through.

We’ve seen night registration done a few different ways:

  1. No Reservation & No Escort: Night registrations are allowed and late arrivals are welcome. An example of this when a campground allows guests to arrive any time after hours, and uses a method like leaving information on open sites on their porch with an envelop and drop box setup for payment. At these campgrounds guests are ‘on their own’ as far as finding their sites, figuring out how best to back in.
  2. No Reservation with Escort: Night registrations are allowed and late arrivals will be escorted to their site by an employee working security. An example might be a campground allowing campers to show up without a reservation, choose a site from a list of openings, and then having the onsite security how them to their site and help them back in.
  3. Reservation with Escort: Reservations are required prior to the close of business, but late arrivals will be escorted by an employee when they arrive. An example of this process would be calling prior to the property close time, making your reservation then arriving late at night, where a park ranger will escort you to your preassigned spot and help you back in.
  4. Reservation with No Escort: Reservations are required, and late arrivals are welcome, but escorts are not given after hours. An example of this, is when a campground allows guests to make a reservation with the intent of arriving late, but will not have a staff member on site to help them navigate to their site or back in.
  5. No Night Registration or Late Arrivals: Night registrations and Late arrivals are not allowed.

So now the question- Are late arrivals worth the hassle?

Persoanlly…

Night registration is one thing we try to avoid while we’re moving from one campground to the next. It just never seems to work out 100% smooth and to be honest, every park has their own way of doing it, or not, and it’s really sketchy if you happen to pick a place while en route!

Sometimes we know exactly where we’re headed. Sometimes we know where we’ll end up, but not the route we’ll take to get there. When times like this are at play, its more than enough stress to pick a spot in hopes that it won’t be a hole in the wall and that its easily accessible. But when you throw the additional stress of having to get in contact with someone who may or may not live on site, after hours to help in case something goes wrong- it just makes for a super ‘special’ moment when husbands and wives end up talking through their teeth…

Antwon and I have had many special moments like this during our 3 years on the road, as a workamping family. So many such moments, we’ve ultimately decided it’s best to skip and avoid night registrations at all costs. By all costs I mean ‘by any means necessary”. If that means driving for only 2-3 hours one day because we’re passing a really nice campground we don’t want to skip- then so be it. If that means, leaving out super early and driving more than our target of 5-6 hours max, well… then be it. If it means, heading back in the same direction we just came, because the next campground won’t be open past 5pm when we’ll arrive- then you guessed it- So be that too!

We’re just not interested in stressing ourselves out by navigating in the dark to the campground, which allows prove to be more hassle than just stopping early, to have absolutely no help finding the spot and then upset ourselves even more by having to set up sewer and water in the dark, while neighbors watch through their windows…

***Yes! We saw you! ***

It’s just too much work. But you make the decision for yourself!

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