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SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The simple phrase that makes all California campers cringe: “There are 0 facilities available based on your search.”

That’s the message seen when there are no campsites available on the date selected when trying to snag an overnight spot at one of California’s state parks.

According to booking platform Reserve California, there are 15,000 campsites scattered across the Golden State. With so many options, most would think it would be easy to book a site. As it turns out, going camping in California can be challenging due to high demand.

So, what’s the secret to securing a spot at one of California’s state parks? Planning ahead.

The trick to landing a campsite is mapping out your adventure early — six months in advance to be exact. Reservations for campsites and lodging can be made exactly six months before the arrival date with the reservation window opening at 8 a.m.

In order to increase your chances, log in to Reserve California about 20 minutes beforehand and enter the name of the campground you want to visit. This requires an account, which can be made for free with a valid email.

When the reservation window opens, all of the campsites immediately become available.

Once the clock strikes eight, select your anticipated arrival date(s) and select the type of site you wish to book (RV/motorhome, tent, trailer or truck/SUV/van). Next, click “Show Results” and choose your site and book.

This doesn’t guarantee you will snag the spot you’ve been waiting for, but it does increase your odds of beating fellow campers to the fire.

In the event that the dreaded message appears to inform you no sites are available, there’s two backup options. You can click “Next Available Date” to show alternative date options that are available to reserve.

(Screen grab from www.reservecalifornia.com)

Another option is signing up for notification alerts for particular dates. If someone cancels their reservation, Reserve California will notify you by text message or email. You can then log in and secure the booking.

Detailed information on how to make a reservation can be found here.

Adventure awaits California campers — let the planning begin.