Towing our home around the country has given us the opportunity to see more places than we would have ever dreamed of before. The best part we get to live in some pretty amazing spots!
We prefer dry camping, boondocking, whatever you want to call it! The freedom, privacy and being able to be surrounded by nature makes it feel like home. We try and boondock as much as possible. You can stay in some of the most beautiful places for free! Walk out your front door and right onto a trail or look out your window to snow capped mountains or lay in bed and hear the nearby stream. It’s something I can’t explain. After your time, you feel rejuvenated, alive and refreshed. You might have a moment of feeling like you cheated, but you didn’t. This is the way it’s supposed to be. Enjoy your public lands, but enjoy them responsibly.
Gearing up for next summer or your first time boondocking? Here are the camping spots we were able to find on our journey in 2017!
Boondocking spots of 2017!
American Girl Mine (California) – We spent 5 nights here, but we could have spent a lot more. It was crazy busy the week we were there but we still felt secluded. Most people come here for the good weather, Imperial Sand Dunes or to partake in the medical tourism to Mexico. There was actually quite a bit to do in the area, you can read more about our time and the area here: American Girl Mine Boondocking
We would stay here again in a heart beat!
Elephant Mountain WMA (Texas) – This place would have been 5/5 if it weren’t for the zero cell service. Close enough to Big Bend it was a great place to camp for free near the national park. This is a popular campground during hunting season. We were there during a slow and unpopular time so we had it to ourselves. I could imagine that it gets loud and busy during high hunting season. We loved the covered picnic area and that most of the spots were somewhat private and we saw Javelinas! If Big Bend is what you are looking for in the area, I might try and stay closer to the park.
FR525 (Sedona, AZ) – We had not boondocked in a couple months and it had been a little hard on us. So 13 months to do the day we were back boondocking in Sedona, where it all began. It was incredible! I love boondocking in this area. It should definitely be on any full time, part time or weekender itinerary!
You can read about RV information in the area here: Sedona RV Info
Here are the hikes that we did in the area as well: Hiking In Sedona, Arizona
9170H (Flagstaff, AZ) – A small detour to beat the heat of Sedona. Friends talked us in to checking the place out and we were happy we did. There is a lot of boondocking in Flagstaff and it’s very RV friendly! There is also a lot of things to do, especially for runners and bikers (road and mountain). Really, it’s good for any athlete. The only negative about this is Verizon service is pretty much non existent. ATT is good. Read about our time, things to do and the area here: Boondocking in Flagstaff, Arizona
We would stay here again! We actually really loved this area and want to come back to hang out more.
Valley of the Gods Rd. (Valley of the Gods, Utah) – The best site for awesome and unique views. This location blew our minds. We were able to look past the negatives, which were actually quite a few, but before that it is close to Monument Valley, Gooseneck State Park, Moki Dugway and Natural Bridge National Monument. The negatives, the long 7 mile gravel road, the bugs (their bites are so harsh, their buzzes louder & rival no see ums), limited data and not much else close by (remember groceries!). BUT…those views!
We would love to come back and do more!
Klondike Bluff (Moab, Utah) – This was a great spot. Close to a lot of things to do. Hiking, biking and site seeing. It was also close to the entrance of Arches National Park and the town of Moab. We were there at the beginning of June and it was HOT and the fleas/bugs were out. Other than the location you have views of the bluffs, LaSal Mountains (they still had snow on them!), and the sky divers on Saturday/Sunday. I wish we could have stayed longer, but the heat and the bugs had us needing to leave. We would come back to this spot next time. Just when it’s cooler and there aren’t as many bugs!
Capitol Reef Overflow (Torrey, Utah) – This area is usually packed, but when we were here it was almost empty. Beautiful views, decent spots and VERY close to Capitol Reef National Park. It’s 1 mile to the sign, 7 miles to the visitor center and the start of the scenic drive (and close to the Fruita Campground). I would stay here again even though there is zero Verizon data. Some of the other boondocking in the area was more difficult to get into. This was very easy and had distinct spots.
We were only here for a couple nights, so we had a very short time in the national park. Here is what we were able to fit in: Capitol Reef National Park
Tom’s Best Spring (Dixie National Forest, Utah) – Southern Utah was hot this summer and to beat the heat we got as high as we could. This spot is at 7,700′ and proved to be cooler than the Zion area (100 degrees+). It’s a short drive to Panguitch, Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest and Bryce Canyon National Park. A little farther is Zion and Grand Escalante. It was not that busy from cars, but we did get some cow traffic! We still loved the spot. Across the road was the paved bike path that goes from Red Canyon to Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park.
P.S. Those are not clouds in the picture, Brian Head was experiencing a massive man started wild fire that ended up being 60,000+ acres and the winds had the smoke going everywhere. It was incredibly sad. It kept the air quality quite low in the surrounding areas.
If you are here for Bryce Canyon National Park, here is our short guide to the hiking there: Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park
Cyde Creek Rd. (Uinta National Forest, Utah) – We made our way back to northern Utah because it was just so hot and dusty. We needed a place to stay for one night and we decided on this location because it was within an hour of Park City. We would not stay here again, even though it was incredibly beautiful. Bugs, busy and no service made it for a tough place to relax in.
Lake Creek Road (Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho) – We love Ketchum (Sun Valley)! There is so much beautiful boondocking in the area. You really have your choice of where you want to be. We met up with some nomad friends here. We got the last spot in the 16 day area, right next to the corral. A decent gravel road, depending on the time of year you are here you may run into a couple thousand sheep. This area is used for grazing. Watching what it took to watch 2,000+ sheep graze and then corral was pretty amazing! The views are some of the best and there is a small lake and stream running through for trout fishing. Verizon data was good!
We would definitely stay here again!
Stanley, Idaho – Stanley was a beautiful place to boondock! There was so much to do in the area with it’s forever hiking trails, beautiful alpine lakes and stunning mountains. The roads are well maintained, the data is surprisingly good and on some roads UPS will deliver. The town is small, but I can say the pizza is good and the grocery store has some very interesting items. For one. Bundaburg Australian soda. GUAVA to be exact. My favorite and I haven’t been able to find it anywhere!
Trail Creek Road (Sun Valley, Idaho) – A quieter road heading out of town, there are maybe two dozen spots in Antelope Creek (16 day area). You will hear road noise, but it’s beautiful with a direct view of Bald Mountain. Close to trails and the river, it’s a beautiful spot for 16 days. There are three entrances. This is the first, with a bit of a dip but a spot with a great outdoor area and a bench! The road from here to the second loop is in the best condition. The second entrance is the best to take. The road from the second entrance to the third entrance is in terrible condition. You will definitely need to scout before you take any rig bigger than ours. We wouldn’t even take ours that way. The third entrance has a partially shaded large spot for a big rig and place to turn around. All the spots are right against the gravel road and mostly narrow, but good for being this close to town. It is also nice being on a paved road to town, you have a lot less dust! You might be a little uncomfortable with the drop off, but when you get close it’s not bad, we didn’t have any issues with the dogs and there is a stream below that you can make your way down to.
There are multiple spots further down the road as well.
Forest Road 4610 (Bend, OR) – We were here last year. It is the best boondocking location close to Bend. Although there has been a big decline with the road and a lot of disrespectful campers trashing the place. We still love it for it’s proximity to the town, Tumalo Falls and it’s in the middle of Phil’s Mountain Biking Trails. There are a few spots that are great for solar but most are great for shade. Be careful as you drive as the mountain biking trails cross with the road in multiple places.
First Spot: Not Good For Solar
Second Spot: Awesome for Solar
Don’t forget to check out our spots from 2016. Here they are: Boondocking 2016
We made it a full year before we stayed in a Walmart. Then we did it back to back and haven’t done it since. It’s actually quite convenient if you are on the fast track somewhere. Just remember some of the etiquette. 1) Confirm with the manager, 2) Slide Outs only with approval, 3) Park off to the side, 4) Don’t run your generators all night long and 5) Do a little shopping!
I should note, that I am not a huge fan of shopping at Walmart, but they do make it so convenient. Plus sometimes it’s cheaper here than anywhere else.
Other companies that allow overnight parking in their lots for RVs:
Cabelas, Cracker Barrel, Flying J Truck Stops, and potentially K-Marts (if you can find one). Casinos! We also have been told that some churches allow it if you can find someone to ask.
Etiquette is the same for all.
For the state of Wyoming, there are a lot of pull outs on the side of the road for an overnight stop. Some stretches can get really long with no businesses available. Every so often there are large pull outs that you can stop for the night. I think they were made for semis, but we had no problem after a 10 hour driving day stopping and sleeping for the night. Yes, it’s a little loud when someone drives by, but free, off to the side and safe if you need to stop.
The only place that I can really think of that I have seen this, is in Bend, OR. They are very lenient with RVs in the downtown area. We had friends stay overnight on the streets by the library and the parking along Drake Park has no time limit. We saw an RV parked along there for a week. On a daily basis you will probably see at least 5 parked along there. The negatives are; no slide outs, not completely even and loud. We have seen RVs on residential streets with slides out. Of course, about every other house seems to have an RV, van or trailer in their driveway or out front on the street.
We love this term and you may hear it often in the full time world. All we need is a driveway or a little plot of land and we are good! It’s the best way to see family and friends for most. We only had one chance to do this and we loved it.
We got the chance in Knoxville, TN! I would say it was a great spot and they let us do laundry! This is thanks to our new friends and the producer of our episode of Going RV on GAC. I highly suggest it.
Sites We Use To Find Spots
We use two main websites when we are looking for camping locations. Passport America and Campendium.
The main one is Campendium. A great review website started by full timers. I like that it is reviewed by other RVers and it is more focused on RVs. I feel as though the reviews are more detailed and focused on what I need to know. Especially about the size of our rig, solar and data. I find that some other sites gear more towards small rigs (i.e. truck campers, vans and tenters).
Let’s face it, sometimes you just want to be plugged in and you don’t want it to be crazy expensive. We decided to join Passport America because we liked that it was 50% off the normal prices. Yes, most come with different rules or restrictions, but when you need it to be cheap and only for a couple days it’s great. The shortest stay is of course one night but a couple honor the 50% off for a week. It just depends on the area.
After finding the RV park on here we double check on Campendium, just to make sure it’s a good one! If you click the ad below we will make a small commission from you using our affiliate link. There is no extra charge to you! We are not paid to provide our review of this site. We use it and like it so we are recommending it to you based on our experience with it. You make your money back after your first couple stays.
The one we did not join is Good Sam RV Club. With this you get 10% off at participating RV Parks and campgrounds.
Where has been your favorite spot? Have any questions about boondocking? We would love to help!
Love to pin, use this one!