Camping in the U.S.? Grab your mouse

If you’re planning a camping or motorhome trip to anywhere in the U.S. this summer, it’s time to grab your mouse. Smart ‘RVers’ always book ahead, but it can be difficult to find the campground you want, locate the right phone number, and make the reservation.

Late last week, the National Recreation Reservation Service, the largest camping reservation service in the U.S., began taking reservations over the Internet. By visiting the website, campers can reserve from an inventory of 49,500 campsites in the more than 1,700 federal campgrounds (in 43 states) managed by the USDA Forest Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

In addition to providing detailed, interactive maps to help customers quickly and easily find facilities, the site provides information about campground check in and check out times, rules and regulations, and amenities. Other federal facilities such as cabins, lookout towers, and group shelters can also be reserved at the website.

Individual campsites can be reserved up to 240 days in advance and group sites up to 360 days in advance. Internet reservations are processed immediately, and you should be prepared to pay for your entire stay when youake your reservation. Visa, MasterCard, and AMEX cards are processed through ‘secure commerce’ software, which ensures the privacy of confidential information.