Locating free camp sites is a chance to leave the crowded campgrounds behind and find a scenic camping area.
There is a tremendous choice of places to boondock, offering free camp sites, mostly on public land. Many flat spots big enough to receive your rig, and secure enough to stay overnight may be free rv parking waiting for you.
It can be at a rest area which allows overnight camping or a location alongside a country road. Note that I am not recommending that you trespass, break any laws or lie to authorities.
Here are some suggestions for you to explore and find free campsites:
In Canada and the United States, there is a lot of land designated as public land. Public means that it belongs to everyone, including you and me, as taxpayers.
Some of this public land is improved by various government agencies, and have roads that allow access to recreational areas, organized and arranged to serve as dispersed camping locations with generally the best views.
Some of this public land is designated as part of an official State or Provincial park.
If there are camping services available, they are minimal. Generally, they consist of running water and outhouses but no electricity. Actually, a lot of the free camp sites have nothing at all.
For those willing to boondock, this is a chance to have access to free camp sites or locations at a minimal cost (6$ to 16$ per night) compared to campground fees of 35$, or 100$ a night at resorts.
It is essential to stop at the Park main office for information on facilities, maps, directions, road conditions, regulations and points of interest.
A Global Positioning System ( GPS ) device aboard your RV is a good tool to help you find your way around these areas.
You can also simply go where the scenery is best; not necessarily limited to the boundaries of a Provincial or State park.
Beautiful free camp sites are everywhere: on the side of an isolated lake, a dead-end country road, in the desert, at the seashore...
Make sure that the surface of the road will support the weight of your RV. If it is muddy because it rained the night before, it is better to look for a more accessible location.
Another vehicle like an SUV (as a toad or dinghy), to seek out a location before bringing the RV there at night is very convenient. A dual purpose motorcycle (on and off road) is ideal in my opinion, if you are a rider.
For specific locations to find these free camp sites, have a look at the list below:
There is also a very practical one-stop reservation site.
It regroups the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the USDA Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation outdoor recreation facilities and activities.
Another tool to use is the website Reserve America , a second centralized reservation service regrouping public parks, State parks and some private campgrounds, some with free camp sites.
- all the National, Provincial and local parks
Have a look at: Parks Canada
I am sure that you prefer boondock RVing along a scenic back road rather than an interstate highway.
However, using your RV to spend a night dry camping in the parking lot of a private establishment may, at times, be a necessary reality. It is free rv parking!
It has more to do with overnight or convenience parking than boondocking.
I decided to include this info here since the RV is also not hooked up to any services.
Sometimes, when traveling near bigger urban agglomerations, the availability of campgrounds is reduced or their prices are very high. Free rv parking outside a campground becomes an interesting option.
Whatever the reason, economical or convenience, spending a night in a rest area where there is no sign stipulating "No overnight parking" is a good alternative.
Using the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Fred Meyer, Crackle Barrel, a Casino or a truck stop may be a privilege.
Private establishments which allow rv parking at their location have the expectation that you will buy supplies or use their services as a kind of gratitude in exchange for the favor of an overnight stay.
Most RVers have done it at one time or another. We expect that everyone respects a general code of conduct while taking advantage of this service so that it continues to exist in the future.
Always ask the owner or manager of the store for permission, respecting the boondocking etiquette One thing to keep in mind while parking overnight in an urban area is to try to be as discreet as possible. You want to draw minimum attention to yourself.
It is true that a 30 foot motorhome does not blend in as well as a camper van but there are always safe locations in an urban environment.
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