Sunday, May 19, 2024

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Boondocking And Free Camping Usa

Neighborhood Watch: Salt Lake City Utah

Dani’s Little Runaway Camper: Boondocking USA

While in Salt Lake City, Utah, we found a spot to park on the city street. It was perfect because we were near a public restroom . As the sun began to set, a police officer knocked on our window.

She said, You are parked legally here and are fine to stay overnight. But I do want to let you know a neighbor called in your vehicle saying it looked suspicious and Im responding to that call.

At that moment, we looked up and saw a neighbor peeping out of a window, quickly closing the blinds when they saw us look up. Like a scene from a sitcom.

We dont want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, nor do we want to feel unwelcome, so we moved down the block and re-parked. Kind of a hassle, but one that was easily fixed.

Other Public Lands In The United States And Canada

While national forests and BLM land are the most common places to find free camping, other types of public lands in the United States and Canada offer up pockets of campsites in different states and regions. State parks, city parks, and county parks sometimes maintain free camping areas. So do entities like water management districts, trust lands, conservation areas. Smaller US federal agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation have a few campsites, too.

Stay limits, access, amenities, permitting requirements, and the types of camping that are allowed at these sites vary greatly. Reading reviews on Campendium, and contacting the agency that manages these free campsites, will help to determine whether they are right for you.

Free Florida Rv Parking S


Elevation: 36

Management: Public South Florida Water Management: District

The road in is Dirt and less than 1 miles from a paved road. Allapattah Flats WMA is open Year Round. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 8 days at Allapattah Flats WMA.

Also Check: Camping World Eugene Oregon Phone Number

Rv Boondocking Places In Colorado

1. Hansons Mill

Hansons Mill campground is ideal for boondocking if you plan on visiting Colorados southwest corner, including Great Sand Dunes National Park. Horseback riding is popular in the area, and several trails branch off from it.

There are only three designated camping areas with fire rings and picnic tables, but dispersed camping is permitted throughout the area.

Coordinates : 37.81268909201038, -106.73724943955443

2. Sawmill Creek Campground

The campground itself is currently closed and does not provide any amenities. Experienced boondockers, on the other hand, can easily do some dispersed camping just outside the designated campground.

Sawmill Creek, which is a few miles from the dispersed camping area, is the nearest water source. Rather than relying on the mountain stream, bring all of the water youll need for the trip.

Coordinates : 40.757633764506, -107.33221689659756

3. Trout Creek Recreation Area

Trout Creek Recreation Area, located half an hour south of Steamboat Springs, is a secluded forest campground ideal for boondocking.

Despite the fact that it has almost no amenities, it does have a single vault toilet, so you wont have to fill up your wastewater tank while camping here.

Coordinates : 39.14888896641132, -105.65016741214984

4. Sarvis Creek Wilderness

The Sarvis Creek Wilderness, located near Yampa and the Trout Creek Recreation Area, has over 44,000 acres of heavily forested terrain.

Coordinates : 40.25291585585458, -106.69936908550338

What Do I Need To Camp For Free

The BEST RV Boondocking / FREE Camping Spot in the USA  by Grand ...

Because most free campsites do not have any amenities, youll need to arrive prepared. If youre camping in a remote, wild area lands), in addition to your RV or tent, be sure to bring:

  • Water for drinking and washing
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper and a shovel
  • Camp chairs and a table
  • Permits

A working knowledge of Leave No Trace principles is essential to camping responsibly in free campsites, including how to dispose of waste properly.

If youre camping in an area that allows overnight parking, such as a truck stop or Walmart parking lot, you will likely have access to a bathroom and a place to dispose of garbage.

Recommended Reading: Camping Within 4 Hours Of Las Vegas

Boondocking How To Do It

RV camping off the beaten path takes planning and forethought which is beyond the scope of this article. There are many informative RV boondocking websites and articles written and freely available on the internet, and they offer a wide range of specific information you will want to learn about. The information presented below is intended to help you learn how to find great RV boondocking locations.

The following book offers some good information for those wanting to learn about RV boondocking basics and techniques.

Parking Overnight At Commercial Parking Lots Truck Stops And Casinos

Walmart is famous for being very RV-friendly, and they sell a Rand McNally Atlas that lists all the addresses of every Walmart in the US as well as its interstate exit number, if it is near one. However Walmart is not always in control of their land, so staying overnight in their lot is not always legal.

Although most Walmarts would allow RV overnight parking if they could, when the building is on leased land with a landlord that forbids it, or when it is located within city limits that have an ordinance against overnight parking, then you cant stay there.

Usually there are signs in the parking lot if overnight parking is not allowed. It is advisable to check with the stores security department to find out whether or not they allow overnight parking, and if they do, where they want you to park.

Here is a list of No Overnight Parking Walmarts. Of course, sometimes rules are flagrantly ignored, and we have arrived at Walmarts where RVs and semi-tractor trailers were lined up between the signs prohibiting overnight parking!

Even more-so than on public land, the boondocking etiquette at a commercial parking lot like Walmart is really important.

We try to keep a low profile, usually remaining hitched to the truck and often not even putting the slides out. Obviously, camp chairs, patio mats, grills and other outdoor paraphernalia is strictly forbidden.

Surrounded by gold in Colorado

How serious is this business of polite overnight parking etiquette?

Camping on a lake in Wyoming

Don’t Miss: Red Rock State Park Camping

Camping On Public Lands

BLM-managed lands offer numerous opportunities for camping under the stars ranging from staying in an RV at a highly developed campground to simply throwing a sleeping bag on the ground in the backcountry. No matter what type of experience you are looking for, you can find it on BLM-managed public lands.

Developed Campgrounds

At many locations the BLM provides developed facilities for camping. Campgrounds may include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, garbage cans, tent pads and group shelters. However, many campgrounds do not have all of these amenities and may only have a picnic table and fire ring. Make sure to check the campgrounds website or call the appropriate field office when planning your trip.

Is Dispersed Camping Safe

Top 10 States for Free Camping & The Most Boondocking

Taking extra safety precautions when youre camping is an important consideration, especially when free camping when you may be far away from other people and without cell signal. Here are a few ways to keep safety top of mind:

  • Trust your gut: If you have a bad feeling about a campsite, leave. Never second guess your instincts you can always find another campsite.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to who and what are around you. If youre camping alone, consider finding a spot with other campers nearby.
  • Dont put yourself in a position to get lost or stranded. Download maps ahead of time or grab a paper map as backup.
  • Tell someone your plans: Let someone know where you plan to camp and when you expect to return. Check in often, especially if your plans change.
  • Have an exit plan: Always keep the drivers seat clear and have a designated spot for your keys. If possible, park where you cant be blocked in and dont need to reverse to get out of a spot.
  • Keep your doors locked: Especially when youre sleeping!
  • Consider carrying a self-defense tool: Some people may feel safer if they carry pepper spray, a taser, etc.

Dispersed camping in Moab

Recommended Reading: Best Tent Camping In New Hampshire

What Should I Know About Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping, also known as boondocking, can be summed up by roughing it. If you are choosing dispersed camping, you are most likely going to need to prepare for dirt roads, no amenities such as picnic tables, garbage cans, running water, dump stations, fire pits, restrooms, or cell service. If you are dispersed camping in a popular spot or a parking lot, then you may have access to a toilet. What you will have while dispersed camping is little to no neighbors, hiking trails into the backcountry, and solitude under the stars the real camping in nature experience.

Before you head out on your dispersed camping adventure, make sure you research the areas you are heading too. Check into road conditions, weather, fire regulations & restriction , and download the Red Cross First Aid app ahead of time. You will be without cell service, so preparing for all potential situations is essential.

Pro Tip: Look for signs that say no camping overnight,no camping, or day use only. When in doubt, check with a park ranger, or a manager of the business whose lot you plan to park in. Make sure you dont just park on the side of a road as it is illegal in most places, and you can not boondock or free camp anywhere inside of a developed campground or recreation area.

Lake Hattie: Lake Hattie Wyoming

More free camping with waterfront views? Yes, please! Lake Hattie is one of our absolute favorite boondocking sites. The reason its not ranked higher is because it remote nature.

This site is very quiet at night. During the daytime, there is a lot of waterfront activities. The boat launch stays busy and many folks fish from the shore.

We really enjoyed the vibe of the campsite and didnt have the urge to get out and explore Laramie too much. We did enjoy Sweet Melissas a vegetarian restaurant in historic downtown. The town has multiple museums and cool outdoor sports bars.

Dont Just Take Our Word: Joe on Campendium says, Beautiful water, beautiful mountains. Its Wyoming so it will be windy, especially in early fall. Data service was a little sketchy with sprint, certain areas you would have LTE and other areas you wouldnt.

Also Check: Camping World Rv Manassas Va

Looking For Free Tent Camping

Not in a campervan or RV, but still want to find a free campsite? It is possible!

Youll want to ignore most of the list above, as youre definitely not going to want to set up your tent in a parking lot!

BLM Land: The only one on the list thatll be relevant to you is the BLM land, as there are often times clear campsites that work well for tents. You might even be lucky and find a nice tent-sized flat spot, and in some cases, a picnic table and fire ring.

State Parks: These are another great option for finding tent-friendly sites.

Insider Tip: Youll be able to tell pretty easily if a tent will work in any given site by reading reviews on any of the camping apps mentioned below.

Wilderness Areas: If youre into backcountry camping, your options are nearly endless when it comes to free camping. This means you wont be near your car, so be sure you have all the proper backpacking gear and knowledge before setting out on the trail. Also, be sure you do a little research to see if there are any permits or park fees required for the area in which youre camping. In National Parks, for instance, you need a park pass as well as a backcountry permit. Weve paid anywhere from $5 to $35 for this. But in other wilderness areas, it is likely that no fee is required.

How To Find Free Campsites Across The Usa

Here are the ten best free camping locations in the USA. Boondocking ...

Utilizing free camping around the USA is a budget-friendly and convenient way to take road trips! Not only can it help cut back on travel costs, but staying at free campsites typically provides gorgeous views, solitude from other people, and a quick way to make an overnight stop while on the road.

There are many ways to find these free camping spots, so it can be a little overwhelming at first when you begin to plan your trip. This article should bring ease to your travel planning by providing the resources to help you find these free campsites! From phone apps, websites, packing, and even more, I will cover everything you need to know to be prepared and plan ahead!

Disclaimer: This blog post features some affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you make a purchase . Its one of the ways I can keep producing free guides and resources for my readers. Learn more about my affiliate policy here. Thank you for the support!

Don’t Miss: Free Camping Along I 70

Free Florida Boondocking Spots Hal Scott Regional Park And Preserve Of St Johns River Wmd

Address4500 Dallas Blvd., Orlando, FLWedgefield, FloridaElevation: 59

Management: Public Water Management: District

Shaded underneath an oak canopy on the outskirts of pine flatwoods, this site has a covered pavilion with picnic table, a fire ring with grill attachment surrounded by 2 benches and a table, and room for multiple tents.

Getting A Good Nights Sleep In A Commercial Lot

Most commercial lots are very well lit, so its almost impossible to find a spot in the parking lot where the street lights wont be shining in the windows or down the bedroom hatch.

Using a vent hatch insulator in the bedroom roof hatch and putting Reflectix in the windows will block the light and make it easier to sleep. Choosing a spot that is far away from any trucks is important too, as they tend to come and go all night long. Refrigerated trucks run loud generators to keep their contents cold. Parking next to one overnight is no fun at all!

Our own private Idaho


Some Interstate rest areas allow overnighting and some dont. Generally, if it is not allowed, then there are signs that say so. Like truck stops, finding a spot away from the trucks is vital.

Vermont doesnt allow sleeping in their rest areas between 7 pm and 7 am , while at one time Texas offered free wifi at all of theirs! One rest area in Mississippi is set up like a campground with individual campsites and a water spigot at each site!

Many secondary roads have large pull-outs where you can be far off the highway and get a good nights sleep.

Also Check: Free Camping On Federal Land

Free Maine Camping Spots

Maine is one of the last regions in the Eastern United States to still have abundant unending wilderness, making it a haven for visitors looking to get away from established campgrounds and explore the states abundant forest and mountain scenery.

Free Maine camping spots can be found near Acadia National Park and on other public properties, as well as near bodies of water of many shapes and sizes and within walking distance of charming small towns. Whether youre looking for the perfect hiking trail, a spot along the seaside, a place to relax around the fire, or simply a quick pit stop on your way to somewhere else, we can help you find the finest area for your camping style.

Stinky Situation: Boulder Colorado

Boondocking 101 – A Guide to Free Camping in Your RV

While parked on a perfectly safe and spacious residential block in Boulder, Colorado, we thought we had found the perfect place to spend the night. But someone must not have liked the fact that we were parked there because around 1 a.m. we woke up to a horrible smell. Like a burning skunk ate a diaper

We tried to ignore it, but there was no going back to sleep. We ended up moving a few blocks away, and decided that it was most likely a stink bomb set off either by a bored college student or a nearby resident who doesnt like vans parked in the street.

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Sacred White Shell Mountain: Great Sand Dunes Colorado

The Sand Dunes National Park is an amazing sight to see. Its tucked into southern Colorado, in a valley known for mysterious UFO sightings. If you want to visit the National Park and do some extraterrestrial stuff on the side this campsite is a must!

This is another super quiet campground. There is a lot of space to spread out and keep to yourself. The road does have occasional jeep traffic, but not enough to become annoying.

This site is dog friendly. The National Park even allows dogs to hike on the sand dunes! If you do go hiking the dunes with your pup, be sure to bring a lot of water.

Dont Just Take Our Word: Karen on Campendium says, Easy access off of 160. Multiple pull-offs from the dirt road allows space for several cars, tents, or campers each, but as you go further up the trail the pull-off areas become less level, so you would be wise to get here earlier to get a spot on more level ground if youre planning to stay with a trailer or motor home.

Magnolia Beach City Park: Magnolia Beach Texas

If you like the sound of camping on Padre Island, but are afraid of ending up in the Gulf of Mexico try out Magnolia Beach free camping. This site is a few hours north of Padre, but much more chill!

You dont have to venture far off a paved road to get a sweet waterfront view.

While this site offers no hook-ups, they do have a great bathroom & shower facility. They are cleaned daily and well respected by fellow campers. Weve yet to see a water spigot, but havent looked too hard. If you need to dump or fill your tanks, there are a few RV parks in a one mile radius. The site also offers many trash cans for easy disposal.

The main source of entertainment here is the beach. Many of the campers enjoyed the days fishing. We also saw kayakers and bird-watchers. If you like to chill, this is a great stop.

Dont Just Take Our Word: A recent Campendium reviewer says, Nothing better than waking up to ocean front views 10 feet away. Great ocean breezes. Spacious. Lots of campsites. All primitive. Picnic tables at some w bbq grills. Be cautious of soft sand after beach renourishment. Totally worth the drive.

Also Check: Camping World Center Conway Nh

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