Ready to get off the beaten path? Tired of paying for overpriced, overly-crowded campgrounds? Boondocking could be your answer! From parking lots to the middle of nowhere, boondocking is a great way to save money and enjoy some time unplugged from the everyday flow of life! You’re probably wondering where to go, and how to know how to choose a spot, so check out these tips for finding and choosing boondocking locations!
All About Boondocking
Whether you call it dry camping, dispersed camping, wild camping, or boondocking, this way to go RVing is essentially camping without hookups of any kind, done anywhere RVs are allowed, but typically is done in remote locations! From store parking lots to the middle of the woods, RVers enjoy boondocking for the freedom it gives them, the minimal environmental impact it has, and the considerable amount of money saved by avoiding pricy campground fees! The best part? Boondocking is, in most cases, completely free!
How To Find Boondocking Locations
Contrary to instinct, boondocking is unfortunately not as easy as just wandering out into the wilderness and setting up camp. There are still laws and sanctions in effect to help protect land, making it a little more tricky when trying to decide where to set up camp while boondocking!
Luckily, there are a number of resources that will help you find boondocking sites, and can give you a better idea of what to expect from location to location, and can even show you locations that you never would have expected!
The agencies of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. National Forests, National Grasslands, and the Fish and Wildlife Management all greatly encourage dry camping on their lands, and in most instances, offers it for free! You’ll need to double check with these agencies before you head out to boondock, as they have specific guidelines and regulations for dry camping, while some locations may not even allow it. A search on Recreation.gov is a great resource for finding areas from these agencies, and can point out some established boondocking sites!
For the Bureau of Land Management, it is easiest to directly contact the specific regional office of the area where you’d like to stay, so check out this map to find the exact agency you’ll need to contact to make arrangements to stay! Most of the land is located in the western portion of the country, but if you’re heading out west, take a look at where to stay!
This website is a fantastic resource for any RVer, whether you’re boondocking or staying mainstream! Filter results using a variety of search items so you can find exactly what you’re looking for! You can search by state, year-round camping, military camping, and more!
This fantastic interactive website offers a wealth of information on free camping sites located throughout the U.S.! You can search by state, and results give directions to the sites and are reviewed so you can know ahead of time if it’s a good place to set up camp! They also feature an app in Google Play so you can browse easily while on the road!
One of the best boondocking apps out there right now is the wonderful BoonDocking app! Powered by Boondocking.org, this app allows users to search around them and choose from over 200 locations across the U.S.! These can lead to some interesting spots that you may not have encountered elsewhere! It is available in iTunes for $0.99!
Free RV Campground and Overnight Parking
Another great resource for free camping sites, this app shows a wealth of places to camp overnight, for free! You’ll find anything from parking lots to forests using your location or doing a simple search! Get the fantastic free version on iTunes or Google Play!
Just like its incredibly helpful website, Allstays features a variety of apps to help you find the exact camping setup you’re looking for! The Camp and RV version is great for finding the perfect boondocking spot, and is available on both Google Play and iTunes!
U.S. Public Lands
This app is beyond helpful for knowing the boundaries of public lands! It will help you to locate the correct agencies to contact, their websites and contact information, and gives you a general sense of where you’ll be able to set up camp! It comes with a spectacular boondocker’s assistant, which gives you a satellite view to help locate campsites, trails, roads, and more! Get it on iTunes or Google Play!
How To Choose Location
Now that you know how to find places to go boondocking, how do you choose where to stay? There are a lot of factors to consider. Some are up to you and some are out of your control!
You’ll first have to consider where your location is. Depending on where you are, you may be very limited to the amount of boondocking locations available in your area! It’s important to plan ahead to be 100% sure that there is going to be a spot for you to stay! If you aren’t finding a boondocking area in your desired destination, it’ll be time for plan B.
Another factor to keep in mind is the type of camping you’d like to do, and your travel needs! Are you looking to get away into the quiet wilderness, or are you just looking for a place to park for the night? This can make it easier to narrow down your destination!
For the sake of legality, it is of utmost importance that you verify ahead of time that the place you’d like to stay does, in fact, allow RV dry camping! If you plan to stay in a parking lot, call the store ahead of time to make sure that you’ll be camping there legally! For wilderness stays, contact the appropriate local agency to verify where you can boondock, and what the rules and regulations are that pertain to dry camping! We don’t want you to get fined or cited for camping in a no-camping area!
No matter where you stay, it’s important to remember to respect the area in which you are staying! Look for a dry camping site that already has a campfire ring, or otherwise looks like it has been used as a campsite. This helps to lessen the environmental impact of RVs, and helps to preserve the land you’re there to enjoy! Always pick up your trash, and observe fire restrictions to stay safe! Most areas also enforce a restriction to a stay of 14 days or less, so be sure to respect that, and be courteous to any neighbors during your stay! We cannot stress enough that it’s important to check with the local agency to ensure you’re following all their requirements for dry camping!
Ready for dry camping? We hope these tips for finding and choosing boondocking locations have helped you to choose the perfect spot to set up camp the legal way! Get out there and enjoy a totally quiet, genuine camping experience! Click here to see our full list of apps to help you while dry camping! Have any other helpful resources for boondocking? Leave us a comment to share!