When it comes to our idea of a good time, it doesn’t get much better than RV camping. And when you rent an RV
as often as we do, you start noticing great ways to RV camp on a budget, especially when it comes to choosing a campsite. With a little research, you can find inexpensive or even free sites all along your travel route. Here are a few great resources to consider before your next RV adventure.
Tracking Down Free RV Campgrounds
You can often find areas for free-of-cost, dispersed camping
on public lands. Most of the free areas are located on Forest Service Land or in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas, Wildlife Management Areas (WMS’s) or county and city parks. All of these are supported by your tax dollars … so put that investment to good use!
Unlike with developed campgrounds, dispersed camping areas don’t have designated spots for you to park your RV rental vehicle
… nor are there amenities like restrooms, electrical hookups or garbage cans. These areas are perfect for the adventurous soul who truly wants to get off the grid
, escape the noise and lights of the city and sleep undisturbed beneath the stars. The best way to determine which regions are open for dispersed camping is to contact the nearest Forest Service office in the area you are planning to visit. Once there, try to choose a campsite where you can see that people have camped before, lessening the environmental impact on the area. Also, keep in mind that these areas are public land without a camp host, so keep the area preserved for future campers by following Leave No Trace Practices.
Another great resource for finding places to camp is freecampsites.net
. This website is like the WAZE of free campgrounds – all campground info is submitted by fellow RV campers, so you know it’s been well vetted. All you have to do is enter a location and it will show you free, paid and permit camping sites in that area.
Finding Inexpensive RV Campsites
While BLM areas can offer free camping spots, they also offer more traditional, paid campgrounds. These often have more amenities than you’ll find at dispersed camping areas and can be accessed with a nominal fee or cheap permit. You can check out this page
to search for RV campgrounds. If you’d like to have a paper copy in hand in case your internet fails you in the wild, you can get a copy of “Adventures on America's Public Lands” to get locations of and directions to BLM campgrounds.
We’ve just gotta say it – the natural places in the U.S. are GORGEOUS! And what better way to celebrate than by getting the America the Beautiful
– National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass. Not only does this $80 pass get you unlimited access to approved parks and federal land, but many of those areas also have free or inexpensive camping sites available for your use once you enter the park.
No matter where your wandering heart takes you, there are sure to be great campsites for your RV rental. If you decide to upgrade your stay with a more amenity-rich place to park your RV, check out our campground finder page for more, great resources.