FAQ Index

FAQS - Search for Places

Q. What can I search for?

A. You can search for where you want to go and what you want to do. The ‘Where’ field that appears in the search form can be used for facility names or addresses - including streets, states, cities and zip codes. The ‘Interested in’ drop-down will help you to narrow down the type of recreation activity you are looking for.

Q. I don’t know the name of the facility (e.g. campground). How can I find it?

A. There are a few options. First, you can try entering in a few characters of the city or state you think the facility might be near.
You can try entering in the national park or forest that the campground is associated with.
Alternatively, if you at least know what the campground name starts with, we can start matching against what you can remember. If you still can’t find it, select Search anyway and you will land on our ‘Did you mean’ page which will provide some more facilities that match your input.

Q. The address I’m looking for isn’t coming up.

A. Our addresses are returned from Google and we have a maximum number that we display in the auto-complete list. If you can’t find it, select Search anyway and you will land on our ‘Did you mean’ page which will provide some more addresses that match your input.

Q. I see a link for alternative names of places. What does that mean?

A. There are some facilities that go by other names – nicknames given to a facility over the years or just a more commonly used name. Often our users might only know the nickname so we present this option to give you the ability to search for it. By clicking on this link, we’ll provide a list of facilities that match your input against the alternative names.

Q. How come I no longer see all the site options any more for the site types?

A. You will start to see different site options as you navigate between different site types. We have included only the site options that are relevant to what you are selecting. We have also displayed the most important site option first, and if you are looking for other options, just click on the ‘more options’ checkbox.

Q. How come the first result listed doesn’t have what I’m looking for?

A. We will always return the facility with the exact matching name you were searching for as the first result. It is possible that this facility doesn’t match any of your other search options, but since the name is known to you, we want to make sure that it is included as part of the results. We also display all of the results near ‘where’ you were looking for, that do match your other search options.

Q. Does the Flexibility option include my entire length of stay?

A. No, the flexibility option only includes the arrival date. For example – if you select ‘Flexible for next 2 weeks’, we will return all facilities that have sites available where your arrival date is within the next 2 weeks. It is possible that the remainder of your length of stay falls outside of this 2 week window.

Q. What does Accessibility needs mean and should I check it off?

A. Some sites have more physical accessibility, providing surfaces, slopes and furnishing and that can be helpful to individuals with limits to their mobility. If you require a site that provides that accessibility, then check the option and only those sites will be returned in your search. If you do not require this type of site, please do not check that option.

Q. Does keeping Pets Allowed un-checked mean the same as saying I don’t want pets in my site?

A. For any of the options, leaving it un-checked simply means that we ignore it. It does not mean that the site that is returned disallows that particular option. For example, in the case of Pets Allowed – leaving the option un-checked does not mean no pets allowed.

Q. How come I can’t search past one year for availability?

A. The one year maximum window is a policy that has been set by the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS).

Q. Instead of searching by dates from the search form, is there an easier way for me to see when my campsite is available?

A. Yes. Click on the facility name link and you will be brought to the Facility Details page. You can select the Date Range Availability tab and see a grid of availability starting from the current date. From here you can go forward in 2 week increments and find a date that suits you.

Q. I’m looking for a campground but I only know the name of the national park or forest.

A. Enter the national park or forest name in the ‘Where’ field and we’ll return all associated facilities and campgrounds. You will see the recreation area (national park or forest) appear as the first result and below it, all of the facilities that reside within it.

Q. How come facilities in other states appear in my results when I’m searching by a specific state?

A. We return results that are near the center of the state. This allows you to discover all recreation opportunities near ‘where’ you are looking for, even if they are in another state.

Q. What if I wanted to find a place to go biking while I’m camping?

A. Easy! First, enter in ‘where’ you want to go biking and camping. Then, select ‘Other Activities’ in the ‘Interested in’ drop-down. Select biking and camping from the activities list and click Search. We’ll return all facilities near your desired location that allow you to do both activities.

Q. What is the difference between Day Use facilities found under Camping versus Day Use facilities found on their own?

A. There is no difference. We group day use facilities with our camping facilities – but we still want users to find them easily and quickly, so it also appears on its own under the ‘Interested in’ option. If you complete a search for just day use or day use under camping, you’ll see the same set of results.

Q. What’s the difference between a Reservable Facility and a Recreation Facility?

A. Facilities in general can be anything from campgrounds to tour facilities to permit locations or just areas where people can enjoy many different activities. Reservable facilities are facilities that can be booked online on recreation.gov and could match your dates (if applicable). Recreation facilities often have no reservations or different means for reservations. You can visit the facility details page for more information.

Q. How does First-Come-First-Served work?

A. First Come First Served sites are only bookable at the facility on the day of arrival. This message most commonly appears if you are searching for a site for the next day or two. Usually at this point, the site is no longer accepting online reservations and instead requires you to go to the facility when you are ready to stay there. If the facility is returned with this status it means that there is still availability for the date that you have selected.

Q. How come I get facilities that are not available for my dates?

A. We will return to you all facilities that match your search options and are near the location you are searching for. Sometimes these facilities might not match your date requirements, but we like to leave you the option to select a next available date in these cases.

Q. What do the smaller pins represent on the map?

A. The smaller pins represent other facilities that are near the location that you are searching for. These facilities might not match your search options but we just wanted to show you what else is around your specified location.  The legend below the map highlights what each type of pin represents.

Q. When doing an ‘Any Recreation’ search, is there a quick way to see only facilities of a certain type?

A. Absolutely! At the top of the page, next to the ‘View as List’, ‘View as Map’ options, you’ll see filters based on the type of facility. You can select the filter and the results will update to display only that facility type. You always have the ability to go back to the original set of results by clicking on the ‘All’ link.

Q. How come I sometimes see a distance in my results but sometimes I don’t?

A. There are some recreation areas that we don’t have geo-location data for. Then we are unable to determine a distance from ‘where’ you are searching. However, if there are any associated facilities for that recreation area we will display them (without distance).  We are continually working to improve the quality of our data.

Q. I changed some of my search options in the campsite search form but they’re not retained.

A. The campsite search form options are only retained at the campground details level for that particular campground. When selecting ‘Find Other Facilities’ or going back to your original search results, the campground search form with the original search options are used. However, if there are no campsites that are returned then selecting the ‘Search Nearby’ link will perform a new campground search using the campsite search options.