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Find Open Campsites at Busy Campgrounds: ‘CampScanner’ Scours All Reservations in Seconds

Meet the app that scans over 12,500 campgrounds looking for recent cancellations so you can book last-minute campsites whenever you need them: CampScanner.

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Camping has never grown as much as it has in the last few years. It’s obvious to people who camp in popular states like Colorado, Utah, and California because it’s become so much harder to get good campsites at campgrounds in almost any State or National Park. At least, not without booking it months in advance.

That’s backed up by data, too. According to a recent data analysis by the camping app The Dyrt, there are over 80 million campers in the U.S. today. And 7.2 million of those were first-timers in 2022. Since 2019, there are five times more people camping.

That’s great. It means more people are getting outdoors, enjoying nature, and breathing fresh air. But as a result, the competition for campsites has become fierce. Finding a campsite is the number one challenge campers reported to The Dyrt’s survey. On weekends and especially during peak camping season, it can be really hard to find yourself a site to call home.

Enter CampScanner. This application from Harvest Hosts scans thousand of campgrounds in State Parks and National Parks across the country to find the few and far between that are still vacant. You pick the park and the time you want to visit, and CampScanner can find you a spot — even if the campground is supposedly “sold out.”

‘Cancellation Watchdog’

Camping tent with dog at sunset

Here’s how it works: You plug in your information into CampScanner, including what kind of campsite you’re looking for (RV, camper, tent) and the State or National Park you want to visit, and enter the dates you plan on going. CampScanner takes that information and starts “scanning” for last-minute cancellations.

Specifically, it pulls information from Recreation.gov, CA.gov, and Reserve America seeking out those open spots.

According to Harvest Hosts, CampScanner’s database contains over 4,900 parks, containing more than 12,500 campgrounds. And when a vacant spot pops up, users are notified and can book it.

“The process of booking campgrounds has become increasingly challenging with the recent road travel boom.” Joel Holland, CEO of Harvest Hosts, said in a press release announcing CampScanner. “We are thrilled to launch CampScanner to help bring back the joy of last-minute travel.”

Of course, a service like this doesn’t come for free. Harvest Host is offering the CampScanner app on a subscription with three pricing tiers. There are the Basecamp ($39/year), Trailhead ($49/year), and Summit ($79/year) subscriptions. Each offers different options for “scanning frequency” and the number of scans that be set up.

Visit the CampScanner website for more details on the memberships.

About Harvest Hosts

If you spend a lot of time RVing around the country, you should probably be a part of Harvest Hosts. It is the largest private RVing network in the world. It’s essentially a membership club that offers overnight stays at over 8,000 U.S. locations. They have places for RVers to stay at farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, golf courses, museums, and more across the country.

To learn more about Harvest Hosts, check out the website.

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