Category: RV Destinations

There are countless RV destinations spread across the United States and many things to consider when planning a trip.

What amenities are you looking for in an RV park? For instance, some RVers want a luxury pool and hot tub, and full hook-ups on generously sized lots, while others are happy with boondocking/dry camping.

You’ll also want to consider nearby attractions when selecting RV destinations. Are you interested in nature and wildlife, history and culture, food and nightlife, or other types of attractions?

Needless to say, the time of year and weather should be at the top of your list.

Wherever you end up going, nothing beats an RV trip!

Boondocking, Dry Camping and Stealth Camping

Boondocking, Dry Camping and Stealth Camping

You must admit, the thought of not having to pay a mortgage payment, rent payment, or campground fee is extremely desirable. Add to that, spectacular views and peaceful surroundings, and it’s a done deal.

We plan on boondocking, dry camping and stealth camping occasionally once we hit the road. So, we’ve researched information that will guide us through the process of finding the best areas, following the rules (or not), and living off the grid.

UNDERSTANDING THE TERMINOLOGY

Boondocking (also referred to as Dispersed Camping) is when you camp without hook-ups outside of developed campgrounds.

Dry Camping is when you camp without hook-ups inside of developed campgrounds.

Stealth Camping is when you camp without hook-ups where you aren’t supposed to park. SHHH!

In each of these camping situations, you’re unable to rely on the conveniences provided by RV parks, but you also don’t have to pay the fees associated with staying in those parks. And, you can’t discount the solitude and amazing views that many boondocking and dry camping spots deliver.

On the other hand, camping without hookups in remote areas requires water, energy and food conservation. It isn’t for everyone… If you can’t tolerate hot and/or cold weather, or you can’t get through one day without a shower, you may decide hook-ups are a must. I know Curt can boondock without a problem, but the jury is still out for me.

The following apps will help you find free and cheap camping spots:

BOONDOCKING

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Land

Some of the best boondocking spots are located on land managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), predominantly in the west. Options include areas that are near and far from civilization, some offering amazing views, solitude and time to reconnect with nature.

You should always review BLM rules before you camp in a particular area. Most areas allow you to camp free of charge for 14 days. Then, you have to move 25 miles away. Not a bad deal! They occasionally charge a small fee, such as $50 for two weeks in Quartzsite, AZ.

National Forests

Camping in National Forests is an inexpensive and pleasurable way to camp without the crowds and expense of National Park campgrounds. Like BLM land, there’s limited dispersed camping in the east, so look to the west.

National Forests are managed by the US Forest Service (USFS) forest rangers under the US Department of Agriculture.

You’ll find some information about dispersed camping in National Forests on the internet, but most of the information you’ll need is found behind the counter in ranger stations.

Once you select your National Forest camping location, determine which field office has jurisdiction over that location and check their website for any closures, restrictions, alerts and warnings. This type of information will guide you to legal camping areas within that National Forest. Their sites also have detailed maps with Forest Service Roads.

Familiarize yourself with the rules of a particular National Forest before you go. If you can’t find information on their website, try calling, or find a camp host or forest ranger on location within the forest.

If you camp in a National Forest that’s adjacent to a National Park, knowing the boundary lines is extremely important due to the different rules. An activity that’s legal in a National Forest might land you in jail within a National Park. 

Maps are essential when you’re trying to determine the type of public land you’re using. 

You should have a good Road & Recreation Atlas on hand when you camp in National Forests!

Harvest Hosts

Unique boondocking experiences provided through a membership with Harvest Hosts include farms, vineyards, museums, and more. You’ll learn about their way of life and enjoy an exclusive camping experience, while supporting their business.

Boondockers Welcome

Boondockers Welcome is a member organization that provides you with access to private properties that allow boondocking. You contact hosts on your route to arrange stays with them.

Other Boondocking Locations

Cracker Barrel is a popular restaurant and country store that provides overnight RV camping in many locations.

Walmart is a big box store that allows overnight RV parking in some locations. (The number of Walmart stores that allow overnight parking is decreasing due to new laws and regulations, and campers that abuse the privilege.)

Cabela’s is an outdoor retailer that provides designated RV parking for their customers at some locations.

Casinos sometimes allow free overnight RV parking, or they charge a minimal fee.

Rest Areas allow overnight parking in some states.

Visitor Centers allow overnight parking in some cities.

Truck Stops usually allow overnight RV parking on a first come, first serve basis.

As you can see, the boondocking possibilities are almost endless. It’s easy to understand how Bob Wells and his event, the RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous), have become so popular within the nomadic community.

DRY CAMPING

Again, dry camping is when you camp without hook-ups inside of developed campgrounds. There are opportunities to dry camp at RV parks and National Parks around the country.

National Parks are managed by the National Park Service (NPS) park rangers under the US Department of Interior.

Camping in National Parks gets you up close and personal with some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet and all Mother Nature has to offer. 

Although campsites in National Parks are available on a first come, first serve basis, you can reserve sites at some campgrounds by visiting the Recreation.gov website.

The America the Beautiful Pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country. The annual ticket costs $80 and there are various discounts available. Each pass covers entrance fees at National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, and standard amenity fees (day use fees) at National Forests and Grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers. 

STEALTH CAMPING

The term “stealth camping” refers to parking and sleeping somewhere you aren’t supposed to, like neighborhoods, hotel parking lots and hospital parking structures. In many cities, it’s illegal to sleep in your car, so you must remain inconspicuous.

Here are some stealth camping tips that we learned from van lifers and RVers:

  • Pick a safe spot and have a quick exit plan in case of nefarious visitors.
  • Park after 9:00pm and leave before 6:00am.
  • Keep your rig clean and well maintained.
  • Close all curtains and shades.
  • Don’t use faucets or flush the toilet.
  • Don’t turn on lights or use technical equipment with lights.
  • Don’t argue with police or security or try to make excuses. Be polite and promptly follow their instructions.
  • If you’re staying in a city for a prolonged period of time, change your location nightly.

Good spots for stealth camping are:

  • Neighborhoods
  • Marinas
  • Hotel Parking Lots
  • Church Parking Lots
  • Hospital Parking Structures
  • Abandoned Developments
  • 24-Hour Fast Food Restaurants

In closing, we hope to try each one of these camping areas and tactics! Do you have any tips for boondocking, dry camping or stealth camping?

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Best Fall Road Trips for RVers & RV Essentials for Fall

Best Fall Road Trips for RVers & RV Essentials for Fall

I know this is hard to believe, but I’ve already planned about 10 road trips for our future RV adventures, most of which include stops in Colorado and Georgia for family visits.

Fall is our favorite time of year and Orlando just doesn’t deliver the best fall has to offer, with the exception of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. We dream about RV trips with cool weather and beautiful fall foliage. With the help of websites like Roadtrippers, KOA, WinnebagoLife (GoLife), Airstream and various RV blogs, we narrowed down our list to 10 ideal fall road trips and they’re listed below.

Before your trip, remember to check your tire pressure, and make sure your heating system and brakes are working properly. You should also learn how to drain water lines in case of a hard freeze. Autumn can bring temperatures that dip below freezing point at higher altitudes. 

A few items that will keep your RV in working order through bouts of cold weather are:

With a few precautions, you’ll have the RV trip of a lifetime!

10 Best Fall RV Trip Destinations

San Bernardino National Forest – California

This national forest offers numerous outdoor activities and it’s well known for Rim of the World Scenic Byway. The 100-mile route takes you through two mountain passes and awesome views of the Sand to Snow National Monument.

Ledges State Park – Iowa

A rustic campground overlooking the Pea’s Creek Canyon, this RV park offers exciting hiking and biking trails to take in the colorful fall foliage.

Acadia National Park – Maine

Acadia National Park in Maine is one of the most stunning national parks in the country. Take a drive down Park Loop Road to see mountain peaks, forests and shores.

Roosevelt State Park – Mississippi

This RV park overlooks Bienville National Forest. While the views are stunning year-round, they are a sight to behold as fall sets in. Additional popular activities in this area include biking, hiking and birdwatching.

Cape Fair – Missouri

Adjacent to the James River, this is a beautiful area to see fall colors, and it’s a fishing haven, as well. The Table Rock Lakeshore Trail is close by, which offers impressive fall foliage vistas.

Mark Twain National Forest – Missouri

This expansive national forest is spread over 29 counties. When visiting, check out the Glade Top Trail National Scenic Byway for some incredible fall foliage views, as well as the Ozark Trail.

White Mountain National Forest – New Hampshire

San Bernardino National Forest has more than 20 campgrounds, miles of hiking trails and a whole host of wildlife, including moose, lynx, bobcat and white-tailed deer. When RV camping in the White Mountain National Forest, make sure to drive through Kancamagus Scenic Byway.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee

The Great Mountains National Park comes alive with a myriad of colors in autumn. Blue Ridge Parkway is the highlight of this location, but there are other areas equally worth visiting, like Clingmans Dome Road.

Winhall Brook – Vermont

Nestled amidst hardwood forests in the Green Mountains, Winhall Brook is a campground that is open year-round. The Green Mountains take on a spectacular range of hues as the leaves change color in fall. There is a 16-mile hiking trail close to the RV park, named West River Trail, and you’ll most likely run into woodpeckers, moose and loons during the hike.

Shenandoah National Park – Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is THE place to see fall foliage in all its glory. Drive through Skyline Drive, the park’s 105-mile byway, that offers stunning vistas.

These are our picks for the best fall foliage based on our research and planning, but don’t take our word for it. Get out there and discover the beauty of the fall season and be sure to share your travel updates with us here and on social media!

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