Eclipse Fever Fuels RV Rental Rush: Essential Tips on Booking the Best Campsite

Man and woman in front of RV admiring landscape

RV rental platform RVShare notes bookings are already up 324% for the solar eclipse weekend in April compared to Memorial Day weekend, a historically popular time for RV travel.

Renting an RV is one of the best ways to put yourself close to the path of totality, which stretches from Mexico to Maine. Not only is renting an RV a cheaper way to travel with your family, but you’ll also be able to avoid crowded towns and hotels.

About 52% of solar eclipse travelers report they are “very likely” to rent an RV for the long weekend, so if you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, the time to act is now.

Campsites along the path of totality are also booking up fast, with many already sold out. Here are some tips on reserving a place to camp where you can best experience the “total darkness” of a solar eclipse before it’s too late.

Join a Rally

If you’re having difficulty finding a place to camp, consider joining an RV rally. Many groups are planning events to witness the April 8 eclipse. The Xcapers, part of the Escapees RV Club, are hosting a Solar Eclipse Convergence in Paris, Texas, since that area will experience four minutes of totality.

Full-time RVer Bill Hamblin from the travel blog, The Ramblin’ Hamblins, is a member of Airstream Club International and plans to camp with the Xcapers to witness the eclipse.

Camp Further North

April is still early in the season for camping, so it might be possible to find a site further northeast. Jason Epperson, host of the RV Miles podcast, says many parks may not be open yet for the season, so another option is to consider staying one or two hours from the path of totality and driving in for the main event.

Keep Your Eye Out for a Cancellation

Many people book campsites before they’re ready to commit and end up canceling. The good news is that you don’t have to wait and hit “refresh” on your computer day in and day out, searching for those top spots. Christina Pate with RV living site Travels with Ted recommends the websites Arvie and Wandering Labs, which continuously scan campgrounds you’re interested in and auto-book cancellations even as you sleep.

You can also sign up for Dyrt Alerts, which scans for cancellations at over 4,000 campgrounds throughout the United States.

If you go with the cancellation method, RVer Cindy Scott with Cinders Travels recommends booking a backup campground at a place with a convenient cancellation policy, such as a KOA, in case you get the place you really want.

Consider Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping on public lands is another way to get closer to the path of totality without the need to book a campsite. These campsites are free, but have no hookups, so be sure your RV is off-road ready.  Camping apps like iOverlander, Campenium, and The Dyrt are popular ways to find dispersed campsites.

According to RVShare’s Travel Trends reports, 49% of those considering viewing the eclipse are interested in remote destinations for a less crowded experience.

Use CampSpot to Find a Campground on the Path of Totality

The path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse encompasses a large part of the United States. Attempting to find campgrounds on your own can be overwhelming. Luckily, CampSpot is a convenient way to search for places to stay along the eclipse’s route. You’ll see the total inventory by state and compare prices. CampSpot recommends booking as early as possible, since sites are already filling up.

Try a Non-Traditional Campground

Many folks new to RVing may not know there are options beyond campgrounds and RV parks. HipCamp put together an interactive 2024 solar eclipse map so you can see which camping opportunities are in the path of totality. You’ll find interesting options with HipCamp, such as farmsteads, forested properties, ranches, and primitive campsites. HipCamp allows private property owners to advertise campsites on the platform, so you’ll find more unique opportunities.

Extend the Experience

While total solar eclipses happen every two years or so, not all of them are visible anywhere in the U.S. The next total eclipse visible from the Lower 48 isn’t until 2045. Alaska residents will have a chance to see a total eclipse on March 30, 2033. Taking advantage of this historic event and turning it into a long weekend allows you to avoid traffic congestion and crowds as people leave the area right after the eclipse. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of enjoying the great outdoors a little longer. When booking your campsite, look for ones that are available for a three to four-day period.

Book Your RV and Campsite Sooner Rather than Later

If you’re still considering renting an RV for the solar eclipse, it’s time to get busy. RVshare expects to be fully booked for the 2024 eclipse, and many campgrounds along the path of totality are already sold out. It’s an unforgettable experience.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Travel Binger.

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