An RV vacation can be very relaxing and laid back. You get to go at your own pace and be closer to nature. Camping in Michigan definitely offers this experience. It’s one of the top states for RVers, both from in-state and out of state, particularly during the summer and fall months when the weather and scenery are at their utmost best. Its natural attractions are called “attractions” for a reason, beckoning visitors from across the nation.

Add to that, that there are more RV owners than ever before – in addition to those who choose to rent an RV for a week or two – and now you’ve got a mix that can make it difficult to find a spot to set up camp at your preferred destination. To help avoid this, follow these few tips:

Choose your timeframe.
Holidays are highly preferred by a lot of people, as well as days leading up to and around major events or festivals. Even though you might like to be on Lake Michigan on the Fourth of July, think about going another weekend earlier or later in the summer. If you can, plan for your vacation to take place during the weekdays and travel to or from on the weekends. Do this instead of taking off on a Friday morning. Plan to leave instead on a Tuesday morning, especially if your destination is only a few hours away. Weekends can still book fast so you might need to leave prior to Friday or Saturday, but if you’re lucky, you can extend your stay. People change plans all the time so if you aren’t ready to leave yet, you can always ask the manager if there have been any last minute vacancies.

Choose your spot(s).
Research is key. Campgrounds, RV resorts, and RV parks – public and private – near popular attractions such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes or the UP waterfalls can be difficult to get into. If you don’t mind going for a ride, especially if you have a tow vehicle readily available, then choose to stay somewhere a little farther away. High competition can play a role in helping you to visit new places that you perhaps hadn’t thought of. Be open to changing where you want to go and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Make your reservation early.
Private campgrounds often don’t have an online booking system and limited office hours in the off-season. You’ll need to call to reserve your spot. Many of these campgrounds, resorts, and parks have their hours listed on the website or social media pages. Look at their site map prior to calling, if it’s available via the web. Sites at state or national parks can be reserved online six months in advance (Michigan DNR). But again, everyone knows this, so campsites can go in a hurry. Do you research ahead of time – which campground, which dates, which site even. Know what you want so that you can go through the process quickly and seamlessly, and not waste time making these decisions.

RVs enable us to be flexible, both when we’re traveling and when we are at our destination. Make your plans as soon as you can so that you can get the ideal spot at the time you want to go – and then you’ll really be able to experience a laid back RV vacation.