Tuesday, October 4, 2022


Would you prefer to stay in a scenic, primitive campground or a nondescript RV park with hookups?

Where do you prefer to stay with your RV, in a scenic, primitive (no-hookups) public campground, like those offered on BLM lands or by the U.S. Forest Service, or a nondescript but clean RV park with full hookups?

Boondocking on public lands.

Do you like to get away from the crowds in a beautiful out-of-the-way campground, maybe by a lake or along a river, even if you have to drive a few miles on a dirt road to get there? Or is your cup of tea a full-hookup RV park with all the amenities — maybe even swimming pool, or a hot tub or golf course in a fancy place?

Or do you prefer to get away from crowds entirely by squatting for a few days or longer on public lands — like in the sparsely populated deserts of the Southwest?

Or heck, maybe you’re on a tight budget and holing up overnight in a quiet corner of a Walmart parking lot will do just fine.

Please let us know. And, as always, your civil, respectful comments are invited.


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2 years ago

It depends if we are traveling or staying a while.

Rory R
2 years ago

I forgot to add that we enjoy the NP’s, and SP’s, mostly in early spring and mid fall. The crowds and the noise level especially in NP CG’s is a bit much for me during the summer months.

2 years ago

My wife is a teacher (I’m retired) and we spend each summer wandering the west. Last year (due to medical) we were out only 5 weeks or so, but the year prior it was 9+ weeks…. 9 weeks, of which 8 were dry camping either in National Forest campgrounds or on BLM land (aka, boondocking).

In the last 4 years we have camped out for about 11 months (35 weeks) and of those 35 weeks, we’ve had power for only 11.

To me, “primitive campground” and “boondocking” really seem to be nearly synonymous… the only difference being, a pit toilet and fire rings vs not.

Oh yeah, in those 35 weeks we’ve stayed at a walmart once, cracker barrel twice, and random hardware store maybe 7 or 8 times. When we’re desperate and in a town with no campgrounds, I’ve found that Lowes or Menards or (insert hardware store here) don’t have problems with visitors. I call first, ask permission, and find a quiet corner so as not to disturb customers…. I’ve never been told no when I call ahead.

For me, Walmart is for “emergencies only”. And for me, BLM or NFS or boondocking are all really pretty much the same. 🙂

Rory R
2 years ago

My preference is a clean safe commercial RV Park. Although we do boondock on public lands @ times, that’s when we recharge (ourselves). When traveling and conditions or stops have caused us to fall short of the distance we wanted to travel, we stay on Walmart, Caballo’s, or Cracker Barrel parking lots when available. We try to use everything that’s available. You never know when you may have to use an option that you are not head over heels about…

Ron H.
2 years ago

We stay in different places, based on a variety of variables. If we’re just passing through, a Walmart works fine. If we’re in an area that has lots of different attractions, we stay in a FHU park and take side trips in the toad (towed) to places of interest. If we just want to lay back and relax for a few days or a week, we look for a BLM area or other place to boondock away from people. We stay in RV parks most of the time and enjoy meeting and socializing with other travelers.

2 years ago

We just enjoy camping. There are variations why we like each. It also depends on weather and time of year.

Scenic, primitive spaces are good at times (assuming we are talking about State or Federal Parks). It depends on the location. As long as there is space, a good campfire is relaxing. You can often meet new friends here. Hiking is fun. Sometimes they have amenities. Sometimes they don’t. But you have to plan carefully. The general stay is less than 14 days. During this time, your H2O tanks run out and your waste tanks fill up. You have to hope there is a dump nearby and then make a run to town to restock before your next destination. Most are reasonably priced.

There is something to be said for clean and safe RV Parks but you pay a price. Barking dogs, screaming kids, trashy trailers, tight spaces can be a definite deal breaker. We do like the resorts that provide extra space between RV’s, Clean Showers and Restrooms, pools, work out centers, game rooms, walking/bike paths, concrete or asphalt parking that is level, water pressure that is above 50 psi, sewer, electric and water connections that are properly placed and maybe a small lake and convenience store. Generally, these are great for short duration’s as they tend to be very expensive. We consider these our vacation spots rather than travel spots.

Scenic, primitive spaces are the best. They provide remoteness, isolation, relaxation and great scenery. It’s just a great location to get-a-way from it all and unwind. No barking dogs, screaming kids but no amenities. It’s hard to do laundry. It’s hard to take a good, long hot shower. To make a run to the store can take all day. You have to watch your tanks and conserve as much as you can on H20 and waste water. But the views are awesome! Best of all, they are free or practically free!

Walmart and the like serve a purpose. You can restock and get a grip on the next location by charting maps and making phone calls. Generally, Walmarts and the like are located near conveniences. Time to get a meal at a local restaurant. Time to fuel up the vehicle. Maybe catch a movie. It’s noisy with cars and trucks moving about. Walmarts are generally in noisy/busy areas. But for the price (or lack thereof), it’s great.

So how would one pick a “favorite”? They are all great! A bad day camping is better than any great day at WORK!

2 years ago

I’m not a people person. I’m always polite & respectful, but when/if there is the chance to “get away,” I want to really do that. For me, that is separate if I want full hook-up, or not. My only choice was picking the one about boondock because yes, I like to be away from others, but that doesn’t mean I always want to boondock, if this makes sense? I love finding a state park that isn’t very crowded & setting up the area the way I prefer & “nesting” for a bit within the trees; often looking towards water. It is possible to have both this setting & electricity.

Joe Frank
2 years ago

State and national parks. They show the best of how that state feels about visitors.

2 years ago

South Dakota State Parks

2 years ago

Anywhere I can plug in my Air Conditionr so I can sleep.

2 years ago

Many full hookup parks are in more urban areas, you don’t find a lot of full hookups in rural locations. Personally electric in a nice locations is all needed: with a dump station of course. C.O.E. sites are one of my favorite locals, the eastern states have many on flood control locations.

2 years ago

Other. A state park or Corp of engineer. They are usually more rustic, wooded or rural and less popular to the full hookup camps. We also don’t camp for or utilized the amenities. Electric as a minimum. We don’t have solar yet. We can conserve otherwise.

2 years ago
Reply to  Linda

If you are considering solar, now is still the time (although it was better in 2019). You can still get a tax credit of 26% for 2020. As I recall, 2021 will be the last year for a rebate and it will drop further (22% I think).

We sure are enjoying the freedom it provides. It’s also nice to have a backup generator. Having both will set you free.

Tom Gutzke
2 years ago

With a CPAP machine I need electric hookups. Don’t need swimming pools, bocci ball, etc.

Allan Newcomb
2 years ago

We have always stayed at campgrounds with water & electric. Our new trailer is off road ready so we are going to try boondocking.

2 years ago

We do our share of TV parks ,but we are just as happy with a state or national park with water and electric. So many of the RV parks have things we don’t want or need.

Jeffrey Phillips
2 years ago

I have yet to go boon-docking, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a try at some point in time, I have the provisions to do it. That said, I do prefer/get full hookups when going to a campground. For me, it’s just easier to take care of everything right there at the campsite as compared to having to wait in line at a dump station and hope people don’t get testy if you don’t do your business fast enough.

2 years ago

We prefer State parks with full hookup but electric only okay for a 6 day or less stay.

2 years ago

I most enjoy the Army Corps of Engineer (COE) campgrounds with elec/water on site and a community dumping station. The sites typically have a water view and direct access to the lake. Sites are large and many are private nestled in nature. Campgrounds and roads are well maintained and bath houses reasonably clean (a few exceptions), hosts are pleasant and accommodating, park rangers and hosts keep watch without being intrusive, and gates are locked for reasonable hours. Children can play, bikers can bike, and responsible pet owners can bring along Fido and Fluffy. Costs are very reasonable for all these parks have to offer.

2 years ago
Reply to  Maryann

If you haven’t yet, just a suggestion to try Truman State Park in Benton county, Missouri outside the little town of Warsaw. Beautiful, most northern part of the Ozarks & the Harry S. Truman Dam backs up the Osage River which runs into the Missouri River & then the great Mississippi! It is full of history from everything from the dinosaur bones found in the area to the Osage Indians to the little town that was flooded for the dam to the huge fish hatchery. The stay is longer than you would have expected & the fishing is fantastic! Oh yeah, & it is or was (can’t remember this part) considered the Spoonbill Capital of the World!

2 years ago

We prefer an assortment, love staying at army corps parks, state parks and national parks. When were close to a major city and want to do a lot of touring in that area then we look for a full hookup park. Have only done a small amount of boondocking but will probably do more with our travels in the West this year.

2 years ago

I chose other, because destination, length of vacation, and weather help determine which location would be approiate.