Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking.
My wife and I are planning a trip across the country with no planned agenda, going wherever something strikes our fancy. However, that prevents us from making campground reservations. We like to boondock and wonder whether we will be able to find dispersed camping options if we can’t find a campground with an open site. —Kevin
Yes, you will be able to find boondocking spots, but don’t expect to see a nice, organized guide to boondocking campsites across the country. It will take a bit of on-the-fly research when you’re in unfamiliar territory and it’s getting late in the day. But that shouldn’t discourage you. It’s part of the adventure of discovery and boondocking.
And always have Plan B in place, like locating all the Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, Pilot and Flying J truck stops, and roadside rest areas for a hundred miles ahead if you don’t find anything. You can find the locations of each of these online. Locate the national forests along your route with the National Forest Locator Map and search the forests you will pass through for “dispersed camping” and for a list of campsites.
West of the Mississippi also search the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state offices and The Army Corps of Engineers properties. Visit the Forest Camping website for a list of all the national forests along with a description and directions to campgrounds, and the RV-Camping website or Overnight RV Parking (watch the demo) for free and inexpensive campsites.
Though national forests are scarce in some parts of the Midwest and East, many of those states have state forests that allow dispersed camping and sometimes primitive campgrounds. Search online for state forests in the state you are traveling. It helps also for spousal comity to define how far off your travel route you will look and how long you will search for an acceptable campsite before reverting to Plan B. And don’t wait until it’s late in the day to start looking — allow time for a restorative walk and exploration.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .