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By Chuck Woodbury, editor FreeCampgrounds.com
Originally published January, 2002
Updated May, 2003
Free Campgrounds of the West is copyright 2003 by Out West, 9792 Edmonds Way #265, Edmonds, WA 98020. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and revival systems without permission in writing from the publisher. Additional copies of this book are available from the address above for $14.95 plus $3.50 postage and handling (Washington state residents please add 8.9% sales tax). Orders may also be made on line on our secure server from our website, FreeCampgrounds.com. Please contact us with information about free campgrounds you find in your travels, or about any corrections to information in this book. Our email address is email@example.com.
About this book and how we obtained our information. An introduction to Free Camping in the West
Safety What type of RVs are permitted Really “unofficial” campgrounds Wal-Mart camping Truck stops Rest areas Casino “camping” Schools, hospitals, etc. Police stations Camping World Cracker Barrel stores Public Lands Shopping Centers and Factory Outlet Malls Rural Small Towns Off-season camping About the format of this book
4 7 8 9 9 10 11 11 11 11 11 12 12 12 12 12
Staying the night at Rest Areas
Rest area rules
Directory of free campgrounds
Arizona California Colorado Idaho Kansas Montana Nevada New Mexico Oklahoma Oregon South Dakota Texas Utah Washington Wyoming 16 19 26 29 31 35 39 44 46 47 50 51 56 56 60
Camping on Government Lands
Long TermVisitor Area locations
Pay Campgrounds Reader comments and tips Directory of Wal-Marts that do not allow overnight stays Resources
69 70 75 83
About this book
Every effort has been made to make the information in this book as complete and accurate as possible. However, there may be mistakes both in typography and content. Places where the camping is free today may not be free tomorrow. So use this book as a guide and please report any inaccurate information to us so we can correct it for our next edition. We will also post updates and corrections to this book at http://www.FreeCampgrounds.com/3update.html. Please check this periodically and especially before setting off on a trip where you plan to use this book as a guide to where you will stay. Although we regret any inconvenience caused by inaccurate information, the author of this book and Out West Newspaper shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book.
How we obtained our information
We used many sources of information for the directory in this book. Many of the listings originated from tips received from readers of FreeCampgrounds.com, who emailed us about places they had stayed. In addition, we scoured every campground guide we could lay our hands on and then did our very best to double check all the information to be sure that it was still valid. Information varied between guides — one saying a campground was free, another saying there was a charge. When we could track down a phone number we called to verify our information. Most of the listings in this book are for official campgrounds. But we have included some listings for “unofficial places” — often little more than an out-of-the-way parking lot. Please, if you decide to stay at one of these locations, be considerate. Don’t stay if you are told you are not welcome. And if that should happen, please tell us so we can pass along the information on our website update page and in future editions of this book. You will find many listings in our directory for truck stops. We called nearly all of these and asked if it was all right for an RVer to stay overnight. We didn’t say we were publishing a directory for fear it would take hours to get an official answer. We simply asked if it was okay for RVers to stay the night, just as any RVer might when headed their way and looking for a stopover to catch some sleep. About two-thirds of the truck stops we contacted said it was fine to stay, but many did not have an official policy. As a rule, the best bet for a free stay at a truck stop is at a Flying J Travel Plaza. Most welcome RVers. Because a campground in our directory is listed as being free does not ensure it will still be free after this book is published. And that’s why we’ll regularly update this book and our website — to keep the information as accurate as possible.
Free Camping in the American West
This book is about camping for free. In it, you will find a directory of places where you can park your RV for no charge or, in some cases less than $10, or in other cases a donation of your choice.
You will find listings in this book for many official places to stay the night for free — often in rural small town city parks. But this is really the tip of the iceberg, for there are literally a million locations where RVers can spend the night without dipping into their wallets. There are countless square miles of U.S. government land in the Southwest, where any camper can stay for free for up to two weeks before having to move to another spot. To stay, simply obey the few simple rules that you will find outlined in this book. Other traditional free camping locations include truck stops, the parking lots of casinos and Wal-Mart stores, and highway rest areas. These number in the tens of thousands. We recently visited the Colorado River gambling town of Laughlin, Nev., and were amazed to find perhaps a thousand
Some RVers find a nice part of town where they park on a quiet side street.S.html) published in both Eastern USA and Western USA editions. Some of these folks are retired and living on Social Security.freecampgrounds. An annual membership in the club is $60. A quiet corner of a Wal-Mart or a truck stop parking lot will do just fine. a laundry room or a swimming pool. and are incredibly creative at it. For some. Other RVers form networks of friends who make their driveways available for overnight stays. Others routinely pull into the parking lots of churches or office buildings. Common sense dictates that it’s a good idea to camp where there are other RVers. But the fact is. then park in the corner of the lot where other RVers are Page 4 . but if one is handy they’ll gladly take it for the convenience. Gutsy RVers will ask the owner of a gas station where they fill up if they can stay behind the building for the night. If you decide to stay at a Wal-Mart for the night. RVers’ motives for camping for free vary. which can be easily recouped by taking advantage of this nearly free camping opportunity from time to time. Safety The media has us all scared to death.escapees. with a long drive in between. it’s based on economics — the money they save on a campsite can be put toward gas or diesel fuel for their next day’s journey. They will seldom be bothered. they might hole up in the parking lot of an elementary school. Yet there are some RVers who consider camping for free a sport! They are passionate about not paying to stay. although most of the freebies nowadays are far off the beaten path. Such networks can provide free camping spots all across America and also help stregthen new friendships.50 at 18 of its Rainbow Parks and SKP Co-Ops. knowing full well that it won’t be used the next day. that will do. as long as free campers avoid high crime areas. the chances of being a crime victim are extremely low. Both clubs publish directories of their RV-friendly lodges. When it’s time to stop for the night they don’t need utility hookups. We’ve seen so many stories on the local news about murders and other violent crimes that many of us have come to believe that it will be our turn next if we aren’t careful. (http://www. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management still provide thousands of free campgrounds. On a Friday night. Hospital parking lots are popular choices. others for a night or two. these are peaceful sanctuaries where the price is right. The best way to avoid trouble is to use good common sense.com/fcwright. the answer is yes. Members of the Moose or Elks can stay at many of the group’s lodges for a small donation and sometimes even free. These folks are typically headed from one place to another. This is especially true for RVers who often operate in unfamiliar territory. and often along dirt roads. and every penny counts. Some of the RVers were staying for months. Some business owners consider an RVer in their parking lot the equivalent of a free security guard.com — more about this group later) permits it members to dry camp (park overnight without hookups) for $2. By far the best directory of locations for these places in Don’t Wright’s Guide to Free Campgrounds.RVs parked in casino parking lots and adjacent areas. for example. Yet for RVers who seek solitude. The U. too. Other RVers don’t go out of their way to find free camping locations. The Escapees RV Club (http://www. Often. If they’re passing through a small town with a free campground in its city park. Some RVers object to paying $15 to $35 a night for a campsite in an RV park when all they need is a quiet place to pull over for a night’s rest.
besides a flat camping spot. But it can and does happen. Others. every little noise you hear in the night may make you nervous and keep you awake. Part of my work when not on the fire line included maintaining campgrounds. or check into a local RV park. from those who simply spread out a sleeping bag under the stars to travelers in luxury RVs. Others are operated by the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM).S. I got used to it. Through the years. public. less plentiful. The majority of public campgrounds are located in the West. often more than simply staying at a private campground right along the pathway of your journey. But many are free. In most cases. Forest Service campground. Mexico and Japan. If you choose to hole up in a rest area. In the mid-1980s. Forest Service campgrounds. and by public power companies like PG&E in northern California. although these freebies are usually far off the beaten path and not good candidates for a one-night stopover at least not as a way to save money. Today. A good rule to follow is that if you feel uncomfortable in a place. which were plentiful. Private campgrounds were not nearly as plentiful as today and a campsite cost only a few dollars. are operated by the U. Thirty years ago. Over time. most public campgrounds were free. Campgrounds with flush toilets generally cost about $5 more than those with pit toilets only. the chances are overwhelming that you will never have a problem. when the first one opened in Billings. it wasn’t hard to find them. the U. and still do today.S. Forest Service (USFS). Lucky for me. and stayed in free campgrounds as often as possible. Campgrounds today come in three basic varieties: private. KOA has about 500 campgrounds from coast to coast plus in Canada.S. I was on a very tight budget back then. and by local counties across the USA. Once in awhile. I remember when the first pay boxes went up requiring campers to pay $1 a night. In the late 1960s. I took my first extended trip by motorhome. and city park campgrounds like those listed in this directory. it’s common to pay $10 to $20 to stay in a U. facilities include a few water spigots and restrooms — either flushers or the pit variety. I spent my college summer vacations working as a fire fighter for the U. I’d stay in a roadside rest area. With few exceptions. national monuments and state parks.S. I spent less than $100 on camping. but only if other RVs were around. I divided my time between free U. Very seldom do you hear of an RVer being a victim of a random crime. These campgrounds were known as trailer parks or trailer courts. In four months. there are still free Forest Service campgrounds. It’s not so easy to stay for free these days — at least not in campgrounds listed in most directories. The big directories — including those published by Woodalls and Trailer Life. Public campgrounds include those in national parks. The average price for an overnight stay in one of these public campgrounds is about $12. If you are. It didn’t seem right. Many public campPage 5 . the charges increased a dollar here. If you stay in an uncomfortable area. are supported by the advertising of private campgrounds whose owners would howl if the directory included many freebie spots. a dollar there. then move on to the next freebie spot. public campgrounds will accept all types of campers. And these are not fancy places. So be careful. free camping is still available — if you know where to look.” In the last two cases. Yet. Driving 20 miles out of our way for a free campsite and then back can eat up a lot of gas and dollars. I felt safer in the presence of others. the parking lots of shopping centers.S. and “unofficial. Forest Service. Today. do the same thing. Army Corps of Engineers.gathered. KOA campgrounds did not arrive on the scene until 1962. Montana to snag campers traveling to and from the Seattle World’s Fair.
when we are happy to pay this. We simply need a quiet place to park our rigs for the night. as well as smaller chains or franchises such as Yogi Bear. The cost of camping at these places can be very high or very low. It must be right on the beaten path or barely off it. some horrible. however. and “boondocking areas” (more about these later). And through tips from our readers and from what we learned our own RV trips. but “overnight parking spots. The edition you are reading is our third update. we can place a few blocks under our tires or. cannot accept RVs longer than 30 feet. Don Wright. And we suspect that it will grow larger with each subsequent printing. which isn’t always the case in public campgrounds. push a button and.” They include rest areas. then move on without using a single kilowatt of electricity or gallon of water. Most private campgrounds will accept any length RV. After all. with its utility hookups. Perhaps the most popular “unofficial” place to camp in America is a Wal-Mart parking lot. we envisioned it simply as a printed version of FreeCampgrounds. and that is it must be easily accessible with an RV. Unofficial campgrounds have no facilities. telephones and laundries are a few yards away. very often. If the land isn’t flat. but removed some others. Yet. we can hole up for days on end without ever plugging into an electric outlet.grounds. And on these occasions. private fishing lakes. swimming pools. which are located about anywhere an RVer travels. depending upon use: The more a member stays. or along a road that is used by RVers traveling from one part of the country to another. for in an RV park. of course. and most will have full utility hookups available. in Page 6 . most good. Most often. the rig is level. we end up staying in an RV park where the charge is $15 to $35 a night. Shopping center and casino parking lots may not have official facilities. But sometimes we don’t need all the amenities offered by private campgrounds. When we first announced this book. With today’s recreational vehicles. Unofficial campgrounds are often not campgrounds at all. the lower the average cost per night. These include Coast to Coast and Thousand Trails. Other private campgrounds are member-only affairs. with the exception of truck stops which may have showers and bathrooms available for an RVers’ use. as are game rooms. But as we began to verify information from our website listings. There are many times.com. plus thousands of Mom and Pop operations. big discount stores and casinos. we have our own onboard power and bathroom. and in some cases even a few feet less than that. we expanded our knowledge of ways to find creative places to stay for free. playgrounds for the kids. and to pass along some of specific locations in the American West where you can stay for free or nearly free. a newsstand. with pricier RVs. And so the book grew. The most popular of these campgrounds are KOAs. and a small general store with groceries and perhaps even video or DVD rentals. And that brings us to the purpose of this book: To inform you about all the to camp for free in your RV. it can really rub us wrong to be forced to pay a wad of money for a campsite where we’ll basically park our rig for the night. Private campgrounds include those operated by companies like KOA. truck stops. There’s one important criteria that must be met for a camping location to be listed here. but RVers can usually find a public bathroom with little effort. we uncovered many more free camping locations. We have added a few listings. presto. we can live pretty much as we do at home — taking long showers and running all our appliances without worrying about draining our fresh water tank or batteries. hooking up to a water spigot or needing to dump our holding tanks. including a few small-town campgrounds that were closed in the last year. parking lots of shopping centers.
in fact. but do so anyway in an unofficial way. but the solitude as well.his fine book “Guide to Free Campgrounds. they usually afford wonderful solitude and often do so in very scenic areas — by steams. they take some out-of-the-way driving to get to — often on bumpy dirt roads — and that’s not what most RVers on the way from Point A to Point B seek for an overnight stop. Some RVers even make a practice of tracking down the owner or manager of a parking lot to request to stay. whether tenters or RVers. sets up lawn chairs and fires up the barbecue is asking to be kicked out. The management knows this. For now. who can tell whether the rig belongs to a customer inside the store or inside his RV fast asleep? But any RVer who pulls his rig into a Wal-Mart and then rolls out the awning.” V-e-r-y unofficial campgrounds Staying at a Wal-Mart or Kmart is one thing. The owner of the parking lot can more-or-less turn his head the other way at the presence of these rigs. What they want is an easy-to-find place along their route where they can get some sleep. to a slightly lesser degree) are most easily accommodated because they blend in. and unofficial camping spots where the intent is not to serve as a campsite. These campgrounds are often located in small-town city parks. They will pull off onto a quiet street. With a few exceptions. telling them — or at least implying — that they will “keep an eye out on things. RVers with folding camping trailers are generally not. most Wal-Mart and similar stores are tolerant of overnight stays by RVers. staying in a parking lot is another matter all together. along lakes. The silent agreement between the parties. Tenters are not permitted. However. have posted “No Overnight Parking” signs. They are often better suited to stays of a few days or more. But. either. indeed. Many of these more remote public campgrounds are in the “middle of nowhere. either because of their own bad experiences or because of a city ordinance. in pine forests. turn off the engine and hop into Page 7 . What type of RV is permitted? In this book you will find listings for two kinds of camping areas: official campgrounds with defined campsites. the RVer and the store owner. The best examples of these would be the parking lots of Wal-Mart stores. And even if he isn’t. that’s the type of “campground” will concern ourselves with in this book.” lists many more free campgrounds than we list here. is that the RVer will keep a low profile and stay only long enough to get some sleep. Sometimes a donation is requested (but seldom required). but some RVers can find free camping spots anywhere and everywhere. far off the beaten path — much too far to justify the time and expense of driving to for simply one night. But his emphasis is on public campgrounds. They usually include designated campsites and in rare cases even include electric and/or water hookups. In the case of official campgrounds. this kind of behavior repeated again and again by other RVers may force a store manager to put up “No overnight parking” signs rather than fight local private campground owners and/or City Hall over whether he’s operating a store or an illegal campground. truck stops and casinos. no matter where they are. who’s to know if the rig’s owner is inside his RV snoozing or in the casino winning his fortune? In a shopping center parking lot. most campers are welcome.” As such. and it’s part of the reason a store continues its free “camping” policy. And many stores. RVers in self-contained motorhomes. where the price is not only right. vans and truck campers (and trailers and fifth wheels. as I said. At a casino. then move on. And many are. Many RVers — and these are ones we should applaud — make a point to patronize the store that allows them to stay. for example.
Hospitals can be a good choice as the families of some patients often stay in these lots in their own RVs to be with their loved ones. Like staying at Wal-Mart. Kmart is generally open to overnight stays as well as its Super Kmart stores. Nine times out of ten they will sleep the night away with no interruption. don’t stay. Wal-Mart “camping” As I have said. If there are no signs. or it was mandated by a city or county law. and in that case parking at a hospital may be in order. search for “No overnight parking” signs. Ask if it is okay to stay. and there isn’t an RV in the lot. I have stayed in a few hospital parking lots and never had a problem. to be ordered to move is enough to keep them tossing and turning all night long. If you see one. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton was an RVer.bed. Wal-Mart’s corporate policy is that camping in its stores’ parking lots is okay. Yet despite the official corporate policy.m. Ask for the manager. •Leave early the next morning. in theory. One RVer wrote to us recently to say he had been fined more than $100 for staying overnight in the driveway of a friend. In other words. Often. and order them to move along.m. If that’s you. most remote part of the parking lot. to boot you out. While I have never heard of anyone jailed for such an offense. will send a security guard or local police officer to your door at 3 a. In very rare cases. Others. happen. but will instead choose a parking lot of a church. To many RVers. and he wanted it that way. an added bonus. •Make no noise. but I’ll bet I’m pretty close. however. just knowing that they may be awakened at 3 a. a good indicator of whether a store is RV-friendly is usually evidenced in the evening when those that allow camping will generally have a few RVs huddled together in a corner of the parking lot. Coffee in the cafeteria is cheap. My advice is that if there are “No overnight parking” signs. and one more RV in the lot will seldom raise anyone’s eyebrow.” Do not crank up your stereo. Stay two nights only in an emergency. But on that one other night. it could. Some made the decision themselves. Do not set up awnings or pull out your barbecue or lawn chairs or do anything else outside your RV that suggests you are “camping. Exit your rig only to walk to the store to shop or to grab a bite to eat. the most popular “unofficial” RV campground is a Wal-Mart parking lot. That’s my estimate. then: •Proceed to the quietest. still look the other way when someone stays.m. If you show up at 8 p. it may turn out that parking overnight on a city street is illegal. Page 8 . Do not wash your windshield or check your oil. Some stores. a police officer may knock on their door at 3 a. some stores don’t allow such stays. If so. Never stay three days unless you’re so sick you can’t move. It turned out the city had a law prohibiting stays in an RV anywhere within city limits except an RV park. Some RVers feel more comfortable obtaining the permission of a store manager before settling in for the night. you will spot one or more RVs already there. The basic rules are simple: •Upon arriving. school (best on weekends) or hospital. and not always in a friendly manner.m. There’s no reservation system here and no designated campsites. Nine out of ten Wal-Marts in America will allow you to stay. there’s an excellent chance it’s because overnight stays are not permitted. stay. move on. Do not turn on your generator. If not. respect them by staying elsewhere. Do not use hydraulic levelers: you may hurt the asphalt. be invisible. Other RVers may not opt for a city street. even though they post signs saying camping is NOT PERMITTED. then make a visit to the store your first stop.
Most states will allow you to stay a maximum of eight hours before you must move on. RVs. dinner from the cafe or souvenirs from the gift shop. A good rule to follow. About half of them enthusiastically welcome RVers. weary drivers and their passengers catch needed rest. One huge national chain of truck stops. RVers generally don’t need to buy a shower because they have one onboard.S.” but how does a police officer know whether an RVer is taking a one-hour nap or a seven-hour snooze? No meters are running. first check with the Fuel Desk to see if it’s okay. is that when you pull into a truck stop with the idea of staying the night. But anyone who has done much traveling knows that late at night these areas are often populated by big rig trucks and. fill it up. they sell gas and diesel fuel. Most of the rest said they allow RVs to stay. but they didn’t seem too excited at the idea. See our Resources section for more information. actually encourages RVers to stay for free. locations that accept overnight stays in RVs.000 travel centers and truck stops in the U. and whether they provide a separate lot from the big rig trucks. in some cases. if you have any room in your fuel tank. many more including hundreds of Flying Js. but you will lessen the chance of a rookie truck driver backing his rig into you at night. propane. They are learning that RVers don’t just stop. The argument for staying at a rest area is that they are easy to find and right alongside the road. An excellent resource on this subject is the book “Travel Centers and Truck Stops. park away from the big rig trucks. This will help ensure that the RVers who follow you also receive a warm welcome. Flying J Truck Stops are usually right along interstates and other major highways and are easy to find. Its policy may state “No camping. please. But there are many. we talked with many independent truck stops about their RV parking policies. allows stays of up to eight hours. Others simply provide one big lot to be shared by truckers and RVers alike. We have listed several dozen truck stops in this book that are RV-friendly. Rest areas Rest areas are intended for short stops to use the restrooms or to take a nap. the truck stop industry will increasingly open its parking lots to overnight stays in RVs. propane fuel availability.” lists the facilities of more than 5. Inside. persistent and even choking if the exhaust is blowing your way. Not only will you experience more peace and quiet. California. but they buy gas or propane. Many designate a special area for RVs only. Ear plugs Page 9 . if you have a choice. Another smaller chain.” but added that they didn’t normally see many RVers in their lots. and Canada. diesel fuel brands. for example. For this book.Truck stops Many RVers stay at truck stops. And there is some sense of comfort in knowing that the local highway patrol stops by often (on popular roads. Other states permit longer stays. at least). which we didn’t include because nearly all of them allow an overnight stay. While this rarely happens. most of which allow overnight stays in RVs. All have restaurants. A final note: When staying at a truck stop. And. Flying J. The others pretty much said it was “okay. There is no problem finding a rest area. Each listing includes the businesses’ restaurant services. Love’s Truck Stops. but at many Flying Js and other truck stops they are available for a few dollars. however. has 70 locations in the Southwest. and some even have dump stations. The argument against staying in rest areas is that the diesel engines and refrigeration units of big rig trucks can be loud. it has on rare occasion. You can expect that in the years ahead. Besides offering free overnight stays.
knock on your door with a plea for help. but they won’t keep out fumes. of these casinos permit overnight stays in RVs. observe the same rules as at Wal-Mart — keep a low profile and don’t overstay your welcome. The official rules about rest area stays in the Western states are elsewhere in this book. Hoodlums can pull in. you’ll sleep better knowing you won’t get booted out later.com on the World Wide Web. You might be surprised to be told you can stay right in the station’s parking lot. A good rule for RVers who stay at rest areas is that if someone knocks who isn’t wearing a badge. don’t stay if parking space is at a premium or if you don’t see at least one or two other RVs. call 911 on your cell phone (essential equipment for RVers) and keep your door locked. But the biggest argument against staying is that rest areas can be unsafe. many on Indian reservations.can help. Perhaps some were waiting for repairs the next day. Casino “camping” It used to be that the only place in the West to stay the night in a casino parking lot was in Nevada. demanding your wallet. in which case I will pull in for an hour or two. Many RVers make a habit of staying at casinos. as a company Page 10 . This rarely happens. if not most. If the police point you to a spot. At a hospital. And it’s a good feeling knowing a patrolman will likely drive by later to make sure all is okay.” Police stations Believe it or not. Camping World Camping World has 30 stores in 18 states. when there are more people around. shopping centers. each a huge RV repair and parts store. Many RVers report staying the night in the parking lots of these stores. where they are not only welcome. Schools.casinofind. how can the management know whether an RVer is sleeping in his rig or inside gambling? If you stay. But make sure to ask. but it does on occasion. city streets Use common sense when you stay in any of these places. pick your spot carefully. Cracker Barrel stores Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. I have always assumed the occupants were there for the night. If this should happen to you. offices. the next morning so you can leave before teachers and students arrive. Don’t stay Thursday night at an elementary school unless you set your alarm for 6 a. you may find the easiest way to find a free camping spot in a small town is to drop by the police department and ask. Many. Not so anymore. but where they can partake of inexpensive buffets. do not. I do not stay at rest areas at night unless I am dangerously tired. On city streets. This is when a big dog with a deep bark is real handy. I am much more likely to take a nap at a rest area during daylight hours. known for their restaurants. hospitals. and you have the slightest suspicion your visitor is up to trouble. pull some slots or even take in live entertainment.m. and then point a gun at you when you emerge. As I noted before. or maybe in the city park next door. A good place to learn where to find casinos is at http://www. as casinos have popped up everywhere. keep the door shut. making sure you’re not bothering a homeowner or are on the “wrong side of the tracks. I have passed by a few Camping Worlds in the evening and seen RVs parked in the lot.
as long as you and your RV are presentable and you ask nicely. Still.” is the way camping should be. however. They are commonly without private RV parks. They can stay for two weeks at a time in one place. Did you once run a hardware store? A plumbing business? An insurance agency? Stop by a business that you “know” and you’ll likely be welcomed. See a separate story on this subject elsewhere. Rural Small Towns The small towns of the West that are located along lonely highways between one big town and another are usually friendly places. or “boondocking. we’ll fire up the printing press for another 1. It doesn’t take much effort to find a free place to stay in most small towns. ask the mall management or one of the merchants. staying in these wide-open lands. most often so does the overnight fee. more and more USFS campgrounds are locking their entry gates rather than operate on a non-fee basis. Look for a local business that you might have something in common with. Each press run will be less than 1. and populated with folks who will go out of their way to accommodate an RVer in need of a place to stay. In the interim. ask first. I have been welcomed overnight in the offices of a few small town weeklies. some do remain for a month or so as freebies after the summer season ends. or the owner of a small store with a quiet parking lot. About the format of this book We chose to publish this book in its comb-bound format because it’s a work in progress. We generally update the information about every six months. The U. Keep your eyes open for these campgrounds as you travel. Page 11 . Public lands Now here’s a big subject. Or. Inaccuracies from the old edition will be corrected or the information deleted.000 copies. government owns a heap of land in the West. Our advice is that if you want to stay.000. Shopping Centers and Factory Outlet Malls The same rules apply here as staying at Wal-Mart: Look for “No overnight parking” signs. and you can stay for free or practically free on much of it in Arizona and Southern California if you follow the simple rules.policy. the water gets turned off at many National Forest campgrounds in preparation for the winter freeze. routinely allow RVers to stay the night. Good methods of finding a spot to park include asking at the police department. If you don’t see any. To many RVers. If you have doubts that overnight stays are permitted. allow overnight stays in RVs.S. if not most of the locations. These days. if they wish. find a quiet corner of the parking lot and stay only as long as you need to get some sleep. representing wonderful bargains for RVers who camp at this time of year. When those copies go. Many RVers routinely stay in shopping centers and factory outlet stores. As the publisher of a small newspaper. New listings will be added. because when the water goes off. often for more than one night. Information in each new edition will be as current as we can make it. then move on. they can stay in a Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) for up to seven months for only $125. But many. Off-season camping In the days and weeks after Labor Day.
then by all means check into the local KOA. the sound of a big rig truck’s diesel engine roaring in one’s ear is not as pleasing as. By this we mean pitching a tent and having a meaningful experience with nature. Charlie Manson is behind bars.com/3update.html. Serious free campers should carry along a directory that shows both Wal-Mart and Flying J locations. it’s just a question of “how long. almost all very easy to find. And the folks inside aren’t watching Jay Leno. Be sure to check out this page before you head off on an RV trip. crimes against RVers rarely happen at rest stops. listed any of them in this book for the simple reason that the listings would occupy way too much space. gets its name because it’s a place to rest. the widely available Wal-Mart edition of the Rand McNally Road Atlas includes a directory of every Wal-Mart store with its address.com/ noparking. And then there’s the remote possibility that a totally bad dude could knock at your door after the local tavern closes and say “gimme your wallet or I’ll blow up your holding tank. to be fair. They’re snoozin.freecampgrounds. if you drive past a major rest area at midnight just about any night. When we do a major update one day. Our list of Wal-Marts that do not allow overnight stays as of May. the serenade of a babbling brook.’ And 99. A more up-to-date list is available for $3 from http://www.0. However. spending the night in a rest area is not “camping. which lists all Wal-Marts. A rest area.com. There is no law against sleeping in a rest area. Also. Flying Js and Cracker Barrel stores in America.2.” We don’t know of a single rest area in the West that permits free camping. Please let us know when you find a Wal-Mart that has “No overnight parking” signs or a Flying J that won’t let you stay. The next one will be 2. And the ones that do today may change their policies at any time. You’ll find more about this in the Resources section of this book. they have thousands of locations. First. However. 2003 is included in this book.99 percent of them will pass the night Page 12 .3. Why Wal-Marts and Flying Js are not listed in our directory These are the two biggest freebie overnight stopping places for RVers. And the fact is. We have not.” Generally.walmart. This edition is number 2. Between them. a monster stereo and three yappin’ Pomeranians doesn’t pull in next door. The police have better things to do than hang out at rest areas with stop watches. you will see at least a few RVs parked together.freecampgrounds. after all. Most RVers do not routinely sleep in rest areas. But many states will allow a stay of up to eight hours and often more. You’ll also find a store directory at http:// www. it will be edition 3. It’s about $5 from any Wal-Mart store. plop down two day’s worth of camping fees.html. For one thing. Staying the night in highway rest areas Here is what we think about camping in rest areas. if you have a rare medical disorder that necessitates a 36-hour nap. some do not allow overnight stays. parking your rig. putting on your pajamas and then climbing into bed to sleep for a few hours isn’t breaking anyone’s rules and won’t land you in jail for sleeping without a license.” The fact is. and then pray that a pop-up trailer with a six kids. The best one is the road atlas published by the Family Motor Coaching Association. say.we’ll post updates of information at http://www. But most RVers who are intent on a good night’s sleep like to know that when they drift off into dreamland that Charlie Manson won’t come knockin. however.’ But.
with no problem except for inhaling a few cubic yards of diesel fumes. Some of our rest stops. rules that prohibit such a practice are on the books so that an officer can legally kick someone out if he or she is staying too long or is up to no good. We wonder what kind of lawsuit would result if that drowsy RVer subsequently rear-ended a Toyota down the highway. and be careful! — JIM IN SACRAMENTO. particularly those close to major metropolitan areas. Where we have high crime report activity we will “suggest” moving along. or you are so tired you can’t go on. or Commander for that area. most states do not allow “overnight camping. In practice. where someone will knock rapidly on the door late at night or early in the morning and holler. ———————————————————————————————————————— Advice from a California Highway Patrolman about camping in rest areas The law says “NO” [about overnight camping] but it really becomes the discretion of the Patrol Officer. screaming or other enticement. lock your door and don’t open it for anyone unless he or she is wearing a badge. lock every entry to your coach to eliminate surprise visits. CHP Page 13 . So don’t overstay your welcome. are prime “Gimme all your cash and credit cards” opportunities for the criminal element of the area. And if you do stay. Our advice. We see a lot of “Good Samaritan” robberies. folks minding their own business inside their RVs are hardly ever given the boot.” We think. As you will see in the rules on the next page. though: Don’t stay in rest areas unless you can’t find a better place. that in reality. If you ARE going to hole up there. you get shoved back to inspect the business end of their weapon of choice. make it one night only. We can’t remember hearing about an RVer being asked to leave a rest stop in the middle of the night. and don’t open your door for ANYONE except a law enforcement officer no matter what the sob story. however. “There’s smoke and sparks coming from under your ***!!” Once you open the door to see what they’re talking about.
but don’t camp outside your vehicle. these are the offical rules for each of the states. Oklahoma No limit to length of stay. No camping or sleeping outside the vehicle. Idaho Stays of up to eight hours are permitted. Sleeping outside the vehicle is not allowed. Overnight parking is permitted. but no camping or overnight parking. and overnight parking is permitted unless posted otherwise. South Dakota Stays of up to four hours are permitted. but no overnight parking or camping. Montana No limit to length of stay. Colorado No length of stay limit. Camping not permitted. Wyoming Overnight parking and camping are not permitted. But no camping.Rest area rules To the best of our knowledge. No “camping” is allowed. or setting up a tent in a rest area. Camping and overnight parking are permitted. No camping or overnight parking is permitted. Nevada Stays of up to twenty four hours are permitted unless otherwise posted. California Stays are allowed of up to eight hours in any 24-hour period in designated parking spots. Texas Stays of up 24 hours are permitted. but overnight parking in rest areas is not allowed. Arizona No limit to length of stay. Utah No overnight stays permitted. as is overnight parking unless posted otherwise. New Mexico Twenty-four hour limit and overnight parking is okay. Page 14 . Oregon Prohibited: Camping overnight or remaining in a rest area for more than 14 hours within any 24-hour period. Washington Stays of up to eight hours are permitted. Kansas Overnight parking is limited to one night and only in designated areas.
We are able to spend two weeks at a time in one location (the limit) in the middle of desert range land where an occasional Brahma herd of cattle would cross outside our living room window. Some of the listings here were submitted by our readers. BROWN Gila Bend There is free overnight parking and a free dump station at the Texaco Truck Stop. CHANCE Cottonwood “Our favorite free campsite is on government lands between Sedona and Cottonwood. these are either a very good deal or in a location where private campgrounds would cost much more. the free camping policy at some of these places may have changed since these readers sent their reports. Page 15 . just a few minutes away. We have not listed information on some of the sites that were submitted. In most cases. From April to October facilities include flush toilets. Most of our listings are for free places to stay. but we have listed quite a few sites with a modest fee. We believe that most of the information is correct. Our address is outwest@seanet. Contact the Chloride Fire Department for camping on the old school property. as these campgrounds come and go quite often.540 feet) is a half-mile south of the visitor center of Canyon de Chelly National Monument. picnic tables and drinking water. Chloride Free overnight camping (no hookups) is available at the VFW as well as on the old school ground. adjacent to the Thunderbird Lodge and its restaurant. Again.” — L. Dump stations are in Cottonwood.Directory of Free Campgrounds Most of these listings have been checked and rechecked by our staff. But we are not 100% sure of the status of some of the sites.com. Also there is free entertainment on the first and third Saturdays by the Immortal Gunfighters and the Vaudeville Troupe starting at noon. as we were unable to verify the information or had doubts about the long-term status of the situation. & R. Please email us with any updates. There are no shower facilities. It’s open year round on a first-come. No fee is required. first-served basis with 104 RV and tent sites. ARIZONA Chinle Cottonwood Campground (elevation 5. however. We enjoyed absolute solitude except for the daily morning hot air balloons which would land a half-mile away in the desert. and we have even stayed at a few of the places. Go west from Gila Bend on I-8 and take the 119 turnoff (1st one). Next to Super 8 Motel. — R.
S.” — W. Morenci Granville Campground (USFS) is 13 miles north of Morenci on the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway. vaulted toilets. and running water.5 mi E of Globe on Highway 70 at mile marker 258. A comfort station has restrooms. The campground is open May 15 through September 30 and has a 14-night maximum stay. 7. No hookups are available. U. A security guard came by and asked if he could get anything for us.Globe Free overnight parking is permitted at the Apache Gold Casino. Parker The Bluewater Casino on Route 95 on the north end of town permits free overnight RV parking. a beautiful road that runs north-south just west of the New Mexico border. No open-flame fires (charcoal or wood) are allowed. but no facilities. where they can walk to the casino and the Colorado River. just north of the airport on the east side of the highway. Oatman There’s a parking area at the north end of town for RVs. The campground is right along the highway. 29 miles west of Kayente. Page 16 . No reservations are accepted for the campground. Open year-round. One lot is right along the highway adjacent to a shopping center — but a long walk from the casino — where signs note that a free night’s stay is permitted after checking in at the casino.S. 9 miles off of Arizona Highway 160. The campground features 31 small sites. KLAUS Prescott Indian Creek is a National Forest Service campground 4 miles southwest of Prescott on State Route 89. with picnic tables and parking spaces. Go a half-mile south on FR 63. and now a tourist-oriented ghost town populated with free roaming burros that beg for food on downtown streets. but expect deep snow in winter. a camper service sink. There is a free campground at the headquarters/visitors center of Navajo National Monument. Kayenta Navajo National Monument Campground: Navajo National Monument preserves three of the most-intact cliff dwellings of the ancient Pueblo Indians. Lake Havasu City Just a tad north of town on U. South of town a few miles. But many more RVers simply stay in the casino’s parking lots. RVs are limited to 27 feet or less. Oatman is a famous stop on old Route 66. RVers often hole up in an area of government land east of the highway. No showers. Open April 1 to November 30. There is water and a dump station at the Globe visitor center. Phoenix “The Harrah’s casino on the Akchin Indian Reservation south of Phoenix allows overnight stays in its parking lot. is BLM land where a lot of RVers dry camp. 191. 95 (between mile markers 190 and 191). no drinking water. campers must use camp stoves for cooking.
dump stations and pit toilets.Quartzsite This is Mecca for the boondocker. No facilities. The only ge noise you hear at night is coyotes. no drinking water. In the winter.000. Camping is $25 for two weeks or $125 for the September 15 to April 15 season.500-acre “campground” is in the flat. pit toilets. Information on camping on public lands in the vicinity of Yuma is available from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 2555 Gila Ridge Road Yuma.5 miles south of town on State Route 85. Superior Oak Flat is a free National Forest Service campground just a half-mile off U. 14-day limit. “Take Highway 95 north out of Yuma to Circle K (Ave 7E). Look for a small sign. No showers. tune to KBUX. 60 on FR 496. outdoor showers and trash facilities. You will be kicked out. tens of thousands of RVers at a time camp in these parts — a dusty splotch of desert and center stage for the Mother of All Flea Markets. 94. phones. Yuma The Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) is about 25 miles north of Yuma off State Route 24 via Senator Wash Road on the California side of the Colorado River. This road eventually takes you to the YMCA gate entrance. 14 night maximum stay. The 3. There are a lot of areas to camp here.). post office. Wickenburg “A very secluded campground is one mile up a hill out of town across from the rodeo grounds. the Quartzsite Yacht Club — a landlocked Budweiser emporium. & D. Many RVers camp for free six miles west of Yuma in California on the north side of the I-8 exit to Algondes. 22 foot limit. the local radio station run from the spare bedroom of owners Buck and Maude Burdette. Quartzsite. AZ 85365. a lively senior center.” — R. Here’s the best place in America to buy a $2 wristwatch or a pound of fossilized dinosaur dung. and. turn left and continue five miles to the Mittry Lake area where there is free camping for ten days (no restrooms. THOMPSON Why There’s a BLM area 1. Mexico. sparsely shaded desert with dump sites. etc. showers. or pay $25 for two weeks or $125 for the seven month winter season in the La Posa Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) where there’s water.” — SHARON H. Calif. has the basic stores. two restrooms.S. The road turns into gravel. RVers can just roll off into the nearby desert and squat for free on government land. Don’t try staying at the Yuma Wal-Mart. some higher up. is very secure and has a beautiful view of Wickenberg after dark. permanent pop. It has lar sites. The town is located at the intersection of I-10 and Arizona Route 95 east of Blythe. but we had a nice spot with our large rig right on the lake. a few mediocre restaurants including a McDonalds (with live music every night during the winter Snowbird season). The $2 fee is well worth it. of course. some RV parks. some on the lake. The popular recreation around here: Rockhounding and sunbathing. When in town.3 FM. 2. Page 17 .
Fall River Mills “Pit No. The permit allows you to keep your campsite while you are off looking at the area. Burney Butte Creek. Bridgeport is a good stop when traveling between Northern and Southern California along the east side of the Sierra Nevada. $5 per night. Burnt Ranch Burnt Ranch is a free National Forest Service campground also on SR 299. rafting and raft rental. but it is free and you don’t need to get it in advance.” Etna (south of Yreka) Free camping in the city park. There are 10 spaces. One area is open year-round. Bodie Ghost town is a short drive south. “we don’t generally advertise it. It is open May 15 through October 1. 395 in this one-street town. pit toilets. no showers.CALIFORNIA Northern California Big Bar Big Flat. There is a large parking lot on the west side of the store. through the beautiful Shasta-Trinity National Forest. On SR 20 between Willits and Ft. Pit toilets Corning Petro Stopping Center along I-5. pit toilets. a snack bar. Big Flat is a National Forest Service campground three miles east of town. there are two main campgrounds. no drinking water. No showers. Bridgeport You can stay free overnight at Busters Market which is along U. no showers. Fort Bragg Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Nice ocean views. will permit an overnight stay although the person who answered the phone when we called said. with the date depending on weather.S. Bragg. Swimming and fishing are available onsite. 1” is the name of a free Bureau of Land Management campground five miles west of Fall River Mills on Highway 299. A permit is required. There’s a 14night maximum stay and a 25-foot limit. Open June 1 through October 1. about halfway between Arcata and Weaverville. This is a free National Forest Service campground just two miles north of Lassen Volcanic National Park on FR 32N21 (off of State Road 44). and to build campfires. The other opens in spring. the main road from Arcata to Redding. There are 10 sites. The small town of Big Bar is on Highway 299. no drinking water. swimming. Page 18 .
Fortuna Hansen Truck Stop permits overnight stays in RVs. This site is just a short drive from Redwood National Park (and a visitor center). Although there is a lot of traffic on the road during the day.3 miles south of SR 36 on FR 29N13. The camping spots are between the highway and the beach. No hookups. There is no drinking water. The truck stop is just south of Fortuna before the junction with highway 36 at 2404 Sandy Prairie Road. formerly one of northern California’s most popular free campgrounds (now $10). 101 is Freshwater Lagoon Spit Campground. SR 36 is a scenic route through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. no showers. Redding The Win River Casino offers free overnight stays in its parking lot. run by the state of California. Orick Just south of Orick (between Crescent City and Eureka) on U. For more information call 707874-3555. practically on the beach. McCloud Algoma is a free National Forest Service campground just one mile south of SR 89 on FR 39N06. Downtown Sacramento is a 30-minute drive.m. no showers. no drinking water. The best place to park is behind the coffee shop.” according to the person we spoke with. It has a 20-foot limit. A Camping World is along I-80 just a few more miles north in Rocklin. The casino is right before you reach Route 273. The casino is located west of I-5. where RVers are often seen parking overnight. Pit toilets. making this a very handy home base for park visitors in RVs. Exit I-5 at Bonnyview Road and head west. vaulted toilets. Occidental is a picturesque little community inland from Bodega Bay. RVers who partake of a meal at this wonderful old hotel can park overnight in the parking lot.S. there is little after 10 p. Platina Basin Gulch-Middle Fork of Cottonwood Creek campground is 1. Basin Gulch is a free National Forest Service campground. Roseville/Sacramento The new Wal-Mart along Route 65 (a mile north of I-80) north of Roseville allows overnight stays. Page 19 . Look for Jimco at 1022 Frontage Road alongside California Route 99. The scenery is great and the crashing surf helps cover any traffic noise from Highway 101. with 13 campsites. open May 20 through October 31. so getting a night’s rest is no problem unless you’re a light sleeper.. Occidental The Union Hotel offers some of the best Italian dining in Northern California. north of Anderson and south of Redding. It is open May 1 through November 1. Ripon Jimco Truck Plaza allows an overnight stay “as long as it’s in a parking space. where there are no park service campgrounds. but the state does provide portable toilets.
The campground is open all year. It has 10 undesignated sites for small RVs. and bicycling. No limit on RV length. This campPage 20 . Truckee Annie McCloud Campground (USFS) is located a short drive northeast of Truckee (on I-80 near Donner Summit) at an elevation of 5. Sierra City Berger Campground is located approximately 2. on Highway 178.” Park alongside the building. This is an inexpensive ($4 per night) National Forest Service campground on Scenic Highway SR 96. This is a great place for swimming. There are toilets.800 feet.S. the road you are likely to travel between Bakersfield and Death Valley. Chemical toilets.” Somesbar Dillon Creek. From Sierra City. Highway 101. Open year-round. Walker Pass is a free Bureau of Land Management campground 14 miles east of Onyx on Highway 178. located the southern end of Lake Isabella.900 feet. no showers. Sattley Yuba Pass is a free USFS campground on scenic SR 49. about 15 miles north of the small town of Somesbar. pit toilets. a spectacular “Lake Louise of the Sierra. While you are in this area. Yreka The Wal-Mart on the north end of town just west of I-5 allows overnight stays. There are 20 sites.5 miles northwest of Bassets at 5. but no drinking water. Follow this route for approximately 3. 14-night maximum stay and 22-foot limit.Salinas Valley Truck Stop will permit a stay “as long as it’s just for overnight. Dump site. Yreka is a good overnight stopping point along I-5 between California and Oregon or Washington. no length limit. Flush and chemical toilets.5 miles and the campground will be on the left. Central California and east of the Sierra Bakersfield/Onxy area Auxiliary Dam. at the east end of Lake Isabella. in Sequoia National Forest. Open year-round. This is a beautiful route through the Klamath National Forest. It’s located at the Airport exit off U. the popular highway linking all the old gold mining towns of California’s Mother Lode Country. Stine Cove. Also. Travel north on Highway 89 for approximately one mile and turn right onto County Route 787. This seasonal campground has 10 campsites with space for small RVs. take the very short drive to Lower Sardine Lake. boating. Yreka is near the very northern border of California. Turn left onto the Gold Lake Road and go about 1. This is a good stopping point when heading east or west on I-80 between Reno and Sacramento. and it has 11 RV sites with a 32-foot limit. go NE on Route 49 (the popular tourist route through the Gold Country) for about 4 miles.5 miles.
a dump station and pit toilets. They are within the Sierra National Forest. no showers. 20 sites. Mammoth Pool is further north and is open May 1 through November 30. but no showers. (3) Sweetwater. There are 29 campsites. flush toilets. Pit toilets. a 22-foot limit. a boat ramp. Round Valley Road. (4) Upper Chiquito. vaulted toilets. Page 21 . 15 campsites. 14-night maximum stay. pit toilets. 16 sites. There are 47 campsites. If you are driving from Fresno. Dardenelle Brightman Flat is a free National Forest Service campground on Scenic Highway SR 108. The campground is one mile west of the small town. swimming. There is a dump station. flush toilets and fishing. no drinking water. 17 sites. open May 1 through October 31. but you have to go four miles west of the highway on S. nature trails and fishing. but there is swimming. No showers. flush toilets. open June 1 through October 31. no showers. It’s open April 24 through October 31 and has a 14-night maximum stay. Facilities may be limited in winter. you will see the first one about 55 minutes into your journey.ground is open year-round with 10 sites. nature trails. groceries. 18 sites. Open March 20 through October 10. Fourteen-night maximum stay. no showers. For the “big spenders. (5) Lower Chiquito. open June 1 through October 31. no showers. No drinking water. they are: (1) Whiskey Falls. boating. no showers. just off the highway and is open May 25 through October 15. It has 18 sites. Chowchilla $6 per night. King’s Canyon. (2) Rock Creek. no drinking water. Maximum of 14 night stay. and fishing.” there are two $5 per night National Forest Service campgrounds along the same highway. Pit toilets. playground. just five miles north of Bishop. Eastman Lake is a Corps of Engineers campground 23 miles north of Chowchilla. which is on Highway 99 northwest of Fresno. open June 1 through October 31. and a 14-night maximum stay. Buttonwillow Travel Centers of America truck stop off I-5 allows overnight stays in its parking lot. 22-foot limit. a road that can take you to Yosemite. dock. Rock Creek is the more southern campground and is open April 1 through November 30. (6) Bowler and (7) Granite Creek. a visitor center. north of Yosemite National Park. fishing and water skiing. swimming. Fresno to Yosemite There are seven free National Forest Service campgrounds located on Highway 41 between Fresno and Yosemite National Park. open April 1 through November 30. 20 sites. 395. but the entrance is difficult for trailers. and Sequoia National Parks. There is a free Bureau of Land Management campground at Crowley Lake. flush toilets. open May 1 through November 1. California’s main north-south Interstate highway. 14 night maximum stay. There are 47 sites. but they are all just off the main highway. a half-mile west of the highway. Buttonwillow is about 16 miles west of Bakersfield on I-5. From south to north.S. There is a 30-foot limit. Horton Creek is another free BLM campground. Bishop Crowley Lake (famous for trout fishing) is 29 miles north of Bishop on U.
west of Lone Pine. turn left onto Horseshoe Meadows Road. 395. for that price. Barstow Rip Griffin’s Travel Center at exit 176 off I-15 will allow an overnight stay. Baker A large. There are 50 campsites with a 50-foot limit. but RVers must register first at the Fuel Desk. A bit farther south. The campground is open April 15 through November 15.Groveland Carlon is a free National Forest Service campground on SR 120. Southern California Adelanto (near Victorville) “Adelanto allows overnight camping in its city park just one block off Highway 395. 395 on FR 2S24 (in the area east of Yosemite National Park near the Nevada border).S. allows RVers to overnight for free in its quiet parking lot between the hotel and restaurant (good food). There is no charge for camping but donations are accepted to help maintain the campground. which is marked. It’s open May 15 through November 1 and has a 21-night maximum stay. at exit 368 (north of the Coalinga exit) allows RVers to stay overnight for free in its parking lot. Blythe Southwest Express Travel Plaza permits overnight RV parking. no drinking water. overnight parking lot for trucks and RVs is located across the street from the BunBoy Restaurant and Motel. Go west about three miles on Whitney Portal Road. It’s located at 17970 West Hobson Way. SCHAAFSMA Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest desert state park in the contiguous United States and is one of the few California State Parks that allows open camping throughout its 600. Also: See Buttonwillow. Page 22 . There are 16 sites and a 22-foot limit. free. Take Exit 176 off Interstate 15. at exit 333 (state route 198). trees.000 acres. A daily fee of $5 is required for such primitive camping. It’s right downtown — can’t miss it. The restrooms are not the cleanest but then. Pit toilets. June Lake Glass Creek is a free National Forest Service campground just one-third mile off of U. just under two miles turn right onto the campground road. what do you want?” — W. Lone Pine Turtle Creek BLM campground is located off U. It’s one mile off the highway on Evergreen Road. Harris Ranch. Vaulted toilets. Be sure to order some apricot pie. west of Yosemite National Park.S. etc Places to park overnight between Los Angeles and Sacramento on I-5 The Apricot Tree Restaurant. Bring your own water as none is provided. water. Sites at developed campgrounds cost more. no showers. above. no showers.
There are 62 campsites with a 48-foot limit. pop for a few bucks and stay in her historic motel. three day limit. Owner Dave will let you dry-camp on his property at no charge. it’s an experience. but the scenery. There are 10 campsites. is a haven for boondockers.htm . Holtville “Heber Dunes County Park. near the shore of the Salton Sea near Niland. for example). All campgrounds are open all year with 14-day limits. There are no facilities except pit toilets.” — GYPSY JOURNAL NEWSPAPER “On the west side of town. And if you’re interested in a really unique experience. Three day limit. Independence A free National Forest Service campground called Goodale Creek is 11 miles north of Independence on U. Pit toilets. Bring your own water and power (solar panels are popular) and a little extra cash to shop at the ongoing. No showers and no water in winter. no drinking water. no showers. If your rig is not self-contained he will even leave the restroom open after closing time.” — DUTCH Visitors to Joshua Tree National Park can choose from about a half-dozen free campgrounds. turn west and go to Heber Road. Slab City isn’t just a place. (1) Wildrose campground is open all year and is just a half-mile west of the Wildrose Ranger Station. This park is worth a visit for anyone in the general vicinity.Death Valley Wildrose Canyon has two free National Park Service campgrounds.com/desert_dutch/slabcity. Camp for free forever here on an abandoned military training center. Hundreds of RVers hole up in the mild winter. informal swap meet. Page 23 . (2) Mahogany Flat is nine miles east of the Ranger Station and is open from March 1 through November 30. Be sure to see her one-woman show. most right along the paved park road. pit toilets. Joshua Tree National Park (29 Palms) “Seventeen miles east of the Twentynine Palms on Highway 62 is the Star’s Way Out Cafe. no showers. Death Vallley Junction Actress/ballerina Marta Becket permits overnight RV camping in the parking lot of her Amargosa Opera House in Death Valley Junction for a $2 donation. take Highway 115 to Walker County Park where there are 50 pull through sites with drinking water and picnic tables. go south to King Road. many in organized groups with special interests (single RVers.geocities.” — GYPSY JOURNAL NEWSPAPER See information on the Long Term Visitor Area in Holtville in the chapter about LTVAs. Niland/Slab City Slab City.S. It also has a 30night maximum stay. There are 30 campsites and there is a 30-night maximum stay. staged in the winter season only (too hot in summer). The campground is open from March 20 through October 20. no drinking water. solitude and rock climbing are spectacular. 395. 14-night maximum stay. Take I-8 to Orchard Road. 75 sites. Read more about Slab City and see photos at http://www. turn east 2 miles to the park.
It’s a gravel lot. Free National Forest Service campground open May 1 through November 1. a dump station and pay phone are available. often camp for free on an open piece of BLM land at the intersection of Tecopa Hot Springs Road and Highway 127. best of all. and. $10 after that. Santa Barbara Do not try to stay for free anywhere in town. 14-night maximum stay. The campground adjoins a park and municipal pool and is a ten-minute walk from town. It’s illegal. shady with electric hookups and hot showers. Learn more about this area and see photos at http://www. however. Thirty sites are available. allows free overnight stays.” — G. just east of Oceanside. about five miles south of Shoshone. No showers. Water. recreation program. RICHTER & DAVE B. Chimney Rock Lower Piedra.org. on Tecopa Hot Springs Road. pit toilets.” Palo Verdes Palos Verde County Park is three miles south of Palos Verdes on State Route 78. 2000 that the Oceanside Wal-Mart told her to leave late one night. COLORADO Brush “Brush has a convenient municipal park on the south edge of town on Clayton Street that offers free camping for one night. Up to three days of free camping is permitted. hot mineral pools. no drinking water. This campground is not free. There is a lot of free camping in this area. so it’s best to stay away then. flush toilets. Page 24 . In December 2000. not in parking lots or city streets. 45 foot maximum on RVs. a rec room. it costs $10 per night. But if you are traveling between Death Valley and Las Vegas. One mile north of Highway 160 on FR 621.desertdutch. Needles often claims the nation’s high temperatures in the summer.Needles The city park by the old railroad station downtown provides free overnight parking for selfcontained RVs. 32-foot limit. you should try it out. Oceanside A reader reported in July. There are 365 campsites at this yearround campground. Many RVers and tenters. Cortez The Ute Mountain Casino. Actually it’s inland a bit in the town of Vista right off of Highway 78. The campground is off of Highway 127. 13 miles south of Cortez. a dump station. Tecopa Tecopa Hot Springs. Note from editor: The Wal-Mart that’s right downtown Cortez had about a half dozen RVs parked overnight when I was in town recently. a reader named Kathleen replied: “But if you park at the Sam’s Club right next to the Wal-Mart in Oceanside you will have no problem.
and has a swimming pool that’s open to the public. BROYLES Hot Sulphur Springs Pioneer Park State Wildlife Area is along the tiny Colorado River (it gets much bigger downstream). Meeker In the middle of town. Free National Forest Service campground 14. Fort Morgan Riverside Park offers free overnight camping (electric hookups at ten sites) and generous-sized sites. Fort Morgan is about 70 miles northeast of Denver. Open May 1 through November 30. 24-hour attendant. 14night maximum stay.S. but cheap: The city campground offers electric. boating. Open all year with a 14-day limit. Near Green Mountain Reservoir. 32-foot limit. Massadona “There’s a $3/night campground here ($8 with electric). The town is about 35 miles east of Dinosaur on U. 10 night maximum stay. Swimming. Free National Park Service campground at the junction of SR 318 and SR 430. 30 miles northwest of town on Colorado Route 9. 6 in the northeastern corner of the state. 22-foot limit. 40 in the northwest part of the state. pit toilets. The town consists of one cafe/bar.Dillon Willows. No showers. Leadville About four miles northeast of town on the north side of State Route 91 is a free BLM campground with about 30 sites.” — C. but no water. Free National Forest Service campground. Open May 25 through October 31. a house and the campground behind the cafe. whitewater rafting. No showers. a block east of State Route 13 is a city park that offers $4 a night camping with electricity. Dump station two blocks away at Texaco station. Haxtun “Not free. No showers. Dinosaur National Monument Gates of Lodore Campground.” — DAVE B. no drinking water. south of Rock Springs). one mile southwest of County Road 30.S. Nature trails. It’s located just off I-76 at exit 80. Pit toilets. Fairplay Buffalo Springs. Page 25 . water and sewer hookup for $8 per night. fishing. It’s not very pretty. Haxtun is located on U. Pit toilets. 285. fishing. Pit toilets. but reasonable. a stone’s throw from town.S. Open May 1 through October 30. a half mile miles west on FR 431.5 miles south of town on U. (North of Maybell.
S. 34 in the northeast part of the state. American Falls Trenner Park.S.” — DAVE B. Water and toilets are available. Most of the campgrounds are off the beaten path and so not appropriate for quick overnight stops. No showers. Primitive sites.Paonia A small city park allows stays of up to three days.state. Yuma is on U. San Luis Camping is free at Rito Seco Municipal Park. but in a separate lot shared by passenger vehicles.3 miles southwest of town on U.id.S. and there’s a dump station. South Fork Highway Springs. but no other facilities. 22-foot limit. of Fish and Game at state Sportsman’s Access areas. Open May 25 through September 15th. Salida On U. 160. For info write Idaho Fish and Game or visit http://www2. Free National Forest Service campground 5. The library has four computers and offers free Internet access. But others are more easily accessed.” — N.us/ fishgame. Bruneau Page 26 . but for $6 you get a space plus an electric hookup. Turn right onto County Road 1690. away from the big rig trucks. Boise Boise Stage Stop truck stop at exit 71 off I-84 allows overnight stays in RVs. OLSEN Yuma “The city park isn’t free. Vaulted toilets. IDAHO Idaho Sportsman’s Access Camp free at more than 100 sites maintained by the Idaho Dept. This is a free campground provided by Idaho Power Company at the American Falls Reservoir. Arco Carrolls Travel Plaza at the intersection of highways 20 and 26 allows an overnight stay in the very back of its parking lot away from the many truckers who often stay. which is 7 miles northeast of town off Route 159. Walden “One mile east of town on County Road 12 is a State Wildlife Area with primitive campsites. 50 east of town there is free 14-day camping along the Arkansas River.
Free BLM campground two miles west on Highway 51 and 5 miles north on Highway 78 (the scenic alternative to Interstate 84). restrooms and dump. at exit 119 off I-15. 26/91 exit and go 2. Kamiah “There is a free campground at the city park at the east end of town on U. boating.S.Cove. Pit toilets. boating and fishing. on the Idaho side. On the map this appears to be on the Strike Reservoir.” — DAVE B. has 24 RV sites with electricity. McCormick Park is on the Idaho side of Oxbow Reservoir. fishing. There are 34 RV sites with electric and water hookups. gas station and McDonalds. a movie theater. 124 RV sites with water and electric. and is open all year. 25-foot limit. Some also have water hookups. The maximum stay is 24 hours. on the Idaho side of Brownlee Reservoir. Challis Spring Gulch. 30. Montana. No hookups are offered. Dillon “The Kiwanis Park is across the street from Safeway. Coeur D’ Alene Just north of I-90 at exit 12 (U. There are restrooms and showers. just below Brownlee Dam. The mine is a mile from Kellogg. Open April 15 through October 31. No showers. 95) is a big vacant lot where truckers often stay the night. Idaho and Missoula. No drinking water. Woodhead Park. A free BLM campground is 10 miles north of town on Highway 93. seven Page 27 . 12 between Lewiston. too.” — DUANE Kellogg The Crystal Gold Mine offers customers of its underground tour free overnight RV parking in designated sites. right along the Snake River. Idaho Falls Wright Brothers Travel Center. Open May 1 through Nov. Pit toilets. Downey The Flags West Truck Stop at exit 31 off I-15 (far southern part of the state) allows RVers to stay the night if they park in a lot shared by big rig trucks. and RVers. “Exit I-15 at the U. Swimming. and another park on the Oregon side (see Oregon listings): Hells Canyon Park. is the largest park at 65 acres.S. just off I-90 at exit 51. allows an overnight stay in its parking lot. Swimming. There are 15 sites. Hells Canyon Idaho Power Company has three free camping parks on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon.S.” — BOB B.5 miles south to the Southside Rest Area. hiking. The camping is free but there are no services — just a place to park.
Mink Creek runs along the west side with several small. It can accommodate larger RVs. is a state run campground with boat launch for only $3. It has picnic tables.S. 30. pit toilets and fire rings. up to 32 feet.” — DAVE B. Ketchum Murdock. Prairie Creek. There are no marked campsites. No showers.days a week except the major holidays. but there’s plenty of flat ground. Pets welcome. Weiser Mann Creek Recreation Area. No showers. Dozens of roads and trails are popular with mountain bikers. hikers. This National Forest campground is five miles east of town on Highway 21 and is open May 20 through November 30. Swimming. Note: No pets allowed. Wayan East of town on Highway 34 is a small park with $5 campsites and clean pit toilets. on State Route 48 after the exit from I-15. river-bottom trees that provide shade and a comfortable and pleasant setting. 22-foot limit. Open June 1 through October 15. Pocatello Tp Truck Stop in Fort Hall. 36 miles southeast of Salmon on SR 28. 95. This is a free BLM campground with 10 sites. Lowman Kirkham. just north of Pocatello along I-15. Yellow Pine Yellow Pine campground is a National Forest Service campground just one mile south of town Page 28 . 1 mile north on FR 146. 32-foot limit. No showers. no drinking water. Take exit 47 off I-15. No drinking water. Kooskia Stays up to five days are permitted in city park. Sixteen night maximum stay. Mink Creek The Mink Creek Roadside Campground is along Route 36 in the southeast corner of Idaho northwest of Preston. allows an overnight stay in its truck parking lot. Free National Forest Service campground 7 miles north of town on SR 75. Salmon McFarland Recreation Site. and horseback riders. Flush and pit toilets. Free BLM campground is 13 miles north of Weiser on U. No showers. Open May 1 through Nov. and half for seniors with Golden Access. Roberts/Rigby “Between Roberts and Rigby. This free Forest Service campground is eleven miles farther up SR 75. Near a hot springs. It is also open June 1 through October 15. Flush and pit toilets. Pit toilets. no drinking water. The small roadside camping area on the southwest side of South Fork Mink Creek Road just off of the main Mink Creek Road provides free camping.
although a donation is requested. including electric hookups and dump station. Five miles north and one mile east of town. No showers. If you use electricity. Chanute “There is a public RV park at 25th and Sante Fe. Walnut City Park is on the south end of town. Warnock Lake is three miles south of the city. KANSAS State Fishing Lakes Nearly all Kansas counties have a state fishing lake. No showers. Cowley State Fishing Lake is 13 miles east of town and has 10 RV sites. give them $5 — close enough to free — and then turn Page 29 . Limited facilities in winter. limited facilities in winter. Newman City Park is along a dike and has a dump station. pit toilets. There is a city lake with a small blacktop camping area with hookups. with no charge for the first three nights. No showers. The clean park is about a mile east of Hwy. 14-night maximum stay. Beloit Camp at the city park in town for free. HAYES Garnett “We spent a lot of time in and around this fine example of a friendly Kansas farm town. 22-foot limit. please donate $3 per night. In addition to the two city parks. On Johnson Creek. Bennington Ottawa State Fishing Lake. Monroe Brown Memorial City Park is within the city limits. Both have electrical hookups. right by the Arkansas River. Free camping is allowed for seven days in designated camp sites. Swimming and boat ramp. Check your road atlas for more specific information about the location of these lakes. Arkansas City There are city parks here where you can camp for free for up to three days. Groceries and coin laundry. with drinking water available. Note: We have listed only State Fishing Lakes that are near major highways. Blue Rapids Riverside Park has RV park services. 14-night maximum stay. You just go to the police department office and ask for a key to turn on the water. no pit toilets. Ten campsites. The city clerk says Walnut Park is a lot prettier. Open May 15 through October 1. Some 20 amp power. no drinking water. the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. It has 30-amp electricity and water at each site and a dump station. Atchison There are several city parks where camping is allowed in Atchison. 169.” — J. Pit toilets. It appears these parks were once free but now charge $2 per night.on FR 10413.
only 4.. 10 sites. Eight miles east of town on U. I got my $5 dollars back more than once. 54. but it’s easy to find. Boat ramp. 10 campsites. No showers. then 1 mile west on SR 94. Hiawatha Brown State Fishing Lake.” Page 30 . No showers. Kingsdown Clark State Fishing Lake.S. limited facilities in winter. 25 campsites. Northwest corner of town. pit toilets. — CITY OF LYNDON Lyons “Lyons Overnight Memorial Park has hookups and a dump station and you can stay up to five days. Pit toilets.” Greensburg Kiowa State Fishing Lake. 8 miles west on U. covered shelters.000 people. 6. then 1 mile south on RR 3.” — A. HILLIS Lyndon The city park at 10th and Topeka Ave. No showers. 10 campsites. 4-night maximum stay and limited facilities in winter. pit toilets. It’s a dry camp and nice and quiet. CHANDLER Mankato Jewell State Fishing Lake. 24-hour attendant. “You can camp with electricity free of charge. picnic tables and restrooms (open in summer only). a play area. then just a half-mile west on U. Lyndon is 27 miles south of Topeka on Highway 75 and is close to Pomona and Melvern lakes.S. then two miles west.” — J. No showers.S. The city’s website says. The park includes a two-story log house (circa 1870). limited facilities in winter. and located at the southwest corner of town in a low traffic area. Kingman Kingman State Fishing Lake. Anyone in town can tell you how to get to the campground.5 miles south of town. Boat ramp. Limited facilities in winter. 77. pit toilets. No showers. Marysville City Park is just south of the intersection of Highways 77 and 36. anyway. 20 campsites. 30 campsites. 36. Shops are nearby. No showers. For more info contact the city office at 785-828-3146. limited facilities in winter. offers three hookups sites at no charge for stays of up to a week. pit toilets. Liberal “We stopped by the Mid America Air Museum in Liberal and were told by the management that we were welcome to stay in the parking lot. 14-night maximum stay. Boat ramp. Lyons is not large. pit toilets. 10 miles south of town. Junction City Gear State Fishing Lake. It’s tree-shrouded.the key back in back in later. Six miles south.
” —D. which manufactures the Excel line of fifth wheels. Be sure to tour the Peterson factory. dump station. Oswego Kamp Siesta Municipal Park.S.S. This public campground is 3 miles north on U. Boat ramp and playground. Has 3 or 4 full hookups in the city park at no charge. 75 allows free stays of up to three days. No hookups. No showers. west of the ball fields. There are no directional signs to this free campground.S. BALERIA Page 31 . boat ramp. Four miles southeast of town on U. on the east side of town on U. Neodesha The city park at the west edge of town along U. They make a very high quality line of fifth wheel trailers. The park is seven blocks east of the intersection of U. playground. pit toilets. Swimming. 160. Medicine Lodge “There are four sites with 30-amp electricity in the city park. Twenty-four RV sites have water and 20-amp electric service.S. Oakley Annie Oakley City Park is at 500 Price Street. 69. Montgomery State Fishing Lake.S. On North Kansas Street. The town has a couple of free overnight parking spaces with electric hookups by its city park (look for the historic windmill). 200 campsites. 160. The city phone number is (785) 672-3611. bathroom with showers. limited facilities in winter. There are 25 campsites. Electric hookups. a well kept community secret. pit toilets. 24hour attendant. I guess. and boats for rent. limited facilities in winter. Boat ramp. The campground is on the north edge of town. but no water. Pittsburg Mined Land Wildlife Area #1. Electrical hookups. Meade is 32 miles northeast of Liberal. The outer two sites are closest to the water if you are not sharing. groceries. near Independence. Parsons Up to five days of camping are offered at $5 a night in the city park.S. Smith Center “Smith Center is the home of Peterson Industries. highways 400 and 59.” — VERN M Barber State Fishing Lake. Limited facilities in winter. and there are showers and a dump station. Moline Located in the heart of the Flint Hills. No showers. pit toilets. pavilion and playground. 54. No showers. 20 campsites.Meade This southwest Kansas town offers free overnight stays in the city park on East U.
It features hot showers. From Anaconda. ” MONTANA Anaconda “Sportsmans Park. Boat ramp. and offers free overnight stays. go south 25 miles on route 273 then two miles west on route 43.50 with electric hookups. sit in the operator’s chair or climb 16 stories to the top of the boom for a great view of the rolling prairie.Stockton A free stay is offered at the nice city park located on the west side of town and the south side of highway 24. is about a quarter mile long. pit toilets. grills. Primitive RV sites are $5 or $7. the world’s second largest electric mining shovel. fire stoves and restrooms. limited facilities in winter. located 27 miles south of Anaconda. 15 miles southwest of Pittsburg. 10A. no showers. General information From reader Gary M. Dump station.8 miles northwest on U. Why? Because you can camp in the shadow of Big Brutus. of Topeka: “Kansas does allow overnight parking at its rest stops. picnic tables. it’s amazing. restrooms.S. Spring Hill. St. Francis. and rental boats. JENSEN Washington State Fishing Lake. Some along I-70 have dumps and water. Most are off the beaten path with no facilities and it’s dry camping only. picnic tables. No showers. Tonganoxie Leavenworth State Fishing Lake is four miles northwest of town at the junction of SR 16 and 90 with 20 campsites and a 24-hour attendant. A good idea is to get the free official state highway map (tourist centers in the state have them or they can be ordered from the state tourism department). Seven miles north. Donations of $5 are accepted which earns you a membership in the Sportsmans Club with full rights to attend meetings. but it’s cheap. Francis A free campground nestled in trees is located next to the museum complex just south of Highway 36 in St. West Mineral This campground isn’t free. A free National Forest Service campground 10. Walk through its cavernous body. There is also a dump station. Page 32 .” — DAVE B. pit toilets. playground. along the river with free firewood (saws provided). West Mineral is in the southeast corner of the state. Limited facilities in winter. — R. covered shelters and disposal facilities. 15 RV sites. There are around 30-40 state fishing lakes in Kansas where you can camp overnight free. There’s a host. then three miles west. yet more important. Washington Rotary Park is a half mile east of town on Kansas Route 36.
picnic tables. 24foot limit. Page 33 . This public campground is 8 miles west of Wise River on Montana 43. National Park Service campground. There are no services. 24-foot limit. no showers. 30. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Afterbay. 42 miles south of Hardin on secondary SR 313. Boulder Just off Main Street is the city park with restrooms with flush toilets. Big Sandy “The town park on the west side of main street offers free camping. Baker Overnight camping is allowed at a shaded park one half block off Highway 12 on the south side of the highway and three blocks west of main street. There are about 10 sites for RVs and a dump station.” — R LINDBERG Coal Banks. pit toilets. pit toilets. recreation program. pit toilets. no showers. Bozeman The Museum of the Rockies will allow you to park overnight in the parking lot at the very east end. dump station. Open May 31 to October 1. electric and a dump station. water and dump station. pit toilets. This one has seven sites. Look for lighted sign visible from I-15 at exit 256. picnic tables and grills. pit toilets. Ten sites. and boat launch. Tosten Dam Recreation Site. It’s operated by the City of Choteau and donations are accepted. boat ramp. It’s open May 1 to Sept. Info: 406-466-2510. no showers. This is a small public campground 10 miles west of Divide on Montana 43. open all year. East Bank. no showers. Choteau Choteau City Park Campground is located in the center of town. no showers. Cascade A one night stay is permitted at a park sponsored by the American Legion and the Lions Club. and only overnight and short stays are permitted. 30 sites. Ask for permission from Security at the front desk. 24-foot limit. 14-night maximum stay. no hookups. grills. It offers 30 tent and RV sites along Spring Creek. but no showers or hookups. as well as a park and playground. boat ramp. Restrooms. Visitor center. boat ramp. Exit at 19th Street and follow the sigh to the museum.Open June 15 through September 5. 8 sites. Three day stay permitted. A free BLM campground is 13 miles southwest of town on Highway 87 at the intersection with a county road. no showers. Another small public campground. Butte Dickie Bridge. Five sites. Water. 16 sites. Restrooms.
Glendive A very nice city park at 100 W.” The cafe has good food. as the campground is right behind the tavern. Columbus is about 40 miles west of Billings on I-90.Clinton (east of Missoula) The Rock Creek Tavern offers free camping in a grassy field. Most sites have picnic tables and fire rings and there are bathroom facilities. taverns can get a little noisy. A lot of RVers stop. and. the $10. At Milepost 10. Columbus “Itch-Ke-Pe City Park is on the bank of the Yellowstone River located in a large grove of Cottonwood trees. which is alongside I-15 south of Dillon. Many of the campsites can accommodate large RVs.” — BETSY Culbertson “The municipal park in Culbertson on U. Highway 2 just west of the North Dakota line has free parking for about four rigs. this is a good deal. good wildlife viewing and hiking trails. It’s several blocks from the highway in a mostly residential area.000 Silver Dollar Saloon (plus store and cafe) offers free overnight camping.S. head one mile west on a county road. Great Falls Teton Truck Stop at exit 280 off I-15 just north of Great Falls permits overnight stays in RVs in the same lot as the big rig trucks. Clinton is 20 miles east of Missoula right along I-90. no showers. Idaho and Butte. Mont. Otherwise. It’s set right along the Yellowstone River in a quiet area. There is no specific restriction on length of stay but a sign says “No Long-term Camping. Ekalaka Medicine Rocks State Park. Saturday night might be the one night to avoid. Page 34 . Look for the road signs advertising the annual Testicle Festival.” — B. well. On the premises are a pool. Good fishing for rainbow and brown trout. This is a good midway point between Idaho Falls. tennis courts and a dump station. Take the Glendive exit from I-94. Free camping 16 miles north on Montana 17. Haugan Fourteen miles east of the Idaho border on I-90. MOORE Dillon There are nine free Bureau of Reclamation campgrounds at Clark Canyon Reservoir. pit toilets. Towne Street has 20 sites for RVs of 25 feet or less and offers two days of free camping. 12 campsites. Helena The Grub Steak Casino is six miles north of town at exit 200 off I-15 and offers an overnight stay. Some sites have 15. AND D. 30 or 50 amp electric hookups. The shade and the proximity to the river is what makes this free campground special.
flat. grassy. we spent a night in Lewistown in a Kiwanis Club park on the top of the hill heading west. but a $5 donation is appreciated. There are no hookups. has a donation box. and other facilities are nearby.” — A READER Libby The Volunteer Fire Department Memorial Park is on the west side of town on Highway 2 next to the Chamber of Commerce. one mile east of town by the fairgrounds. 32-foot limit. come back towards town about a mile. Full hookups $12. picnic tables. It has picnic tables. fire rings. The campground is open May 15 to September 15 and has a nice 9-hole golf course and swimming pool. Free National Forest Service campground 8 miles south on Highway 1. which is on the very west end of town along State Highway 200. Toilet. Lincoln.” — C. Highway 191 is a north-south shortcut Page 35 . rest rooms (his and her pit toilets). Zortman Camp Creek Campground is along Highway 191 south of Malta near the tiny town of Zortman. RING Wisdom (Southwest of Anaconda at the intersection of routes 278 and 43): “Wisdom has a beautiful. but nice level spaces and a donation box.” — DAVE B. 14-night maximum stay. where there is a public phone.S. Poplar Free camping is allowed in the city park. No showers. 0.Lewistown “Last year when we were headed west. no drinking water. Philipsburg Flint Creek. by the way. Roundup The Cowbelle Campground. Lincoln Free overnight RV parking is allowed in the big. 10 in the center of town offers free overnight parking for RVs and tents. a manually operated water spigot. Terry “The city park on U. free campground owned by the American Legion. Free camping is permitted. Open June 15 through September 30. pit toilets. six with picnic tables. post office and a couple of cafes. Water and dump station. trash barrels and is only a fiveminute walk from the tiny town. Bike trails. is the ex-secret hideout of the Unibomber. Also in Lincoln: $6/night dry camping at Hooper Park next door to the library. It has restrooms and 18 campsites. Bring in bottled drinking water as the stuff from the tap doesn’t get rave reviews.3 miles on FR 1090. Lots of good stuff in the Trading Post including world famous beef jerky and other meat snacks. gravel parking lot of the Hi-Country Trading Post. If you use the truck route.
No water available. Dayton is about 15 miles east of Carson City on U. offers a free overnight stay and free water. It’s at 6. there is RV parking behind the Stagecoach Casino. Virgin Valley Campground. Carson City The Carson Nugget Casino. A cafe 3 miles south of Denio where Route 140 turns west (Denio Jct. 25-foot limit. This is a great place to stay. and offers 14-days of free camping in its pinyon-pine and juniper-studded.S. There aren’t many other campgrounds in the area. 15 sites. GUZAETTA Denio Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. Page 36 . Right across the street is a state park and the Carson River.from Big Timber on I-90 to Malta on U. located downtown on U. 50. 395 (the main drag) offers free RV parking in a designated lot.). locals-style casino. quiet stop for anyone heading east or west through Nevada on “the Loneliest Road in America” (not really so lonely!). This is an antelope refuge with great wildlife viewing.S. 95 at its junction with Nevada Route 373 is a large rest area with a toilet. 14-night maximum stay. although the campground is open. It’s only a block from the casino and the state capitol complex.S. The quaint downtown area is a few minutes’ walk away. This location gets high praise from many RVers.” — F. Dayton “There’s free overnight parking in the rear parking area behind the “Dayton Depot. Additional nights are $9 each. Pit toilets. Ely The Holiday Inn allows one free night of parking with full hookups. 50. and within easy walking distance of downtown shops and tourist attractions.500 feet. spa and exercise room. picnic tables and trees. This campground is on the north end of the highway south of Malta and requires a drive on an improved gravel road. This is a very convenient. no showers.” a small.S. Also included are use of the pool. 30 miles west on SR 140.S. Battle Mountain See Valmy Beatty (east of Death Valley) In town. then 2 miles on gravel access road. so not a recommended stop in the winter. Free Fish and Wildlife Service campground. Twenty-nine miles south on U. 16-site campground with a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. NEVADA Austin The BLM’s Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Site is 24 miles east of Austin right along U. 2.
Bring your fishing pole. Gardnerville Sharkey’s Nugget Casino has a free overnight lot just north of the casino. Once there. 25) is 45 miles east of Reno on U. pool.” Jackpot (on Idaho border) Barton’s Club 93 in the center of town offers free RV parking.S. If you come in at night. “You can crash out at my place for a few days and I’ll even throw you a power cord if you buy something from my shop. and store as they were left. right between U. For ‘real’ fun get initiated on Herb’s daily ‘wild water runs’ to a 2000 gallon ‘fill em up’ BLM water tank: ‘rough riders’ only allowed — Yeeha!” — PENNY AND PAUL Hawthorne The El Capitan Casino offers free overnight camping for RVers just a one-minute walk from the casino. Page 37 . Please shut off all engines so we don’t irritate the neighbors. Tasty munchies can be scooped from big bowls in the bar. go 6. large library tables to sit and talk or play cards. See an original museum. Stay as long as you like.S. Fifteen miles north of Hawthorne. I have room for two big RVs. The owner of John’s Antique Shop writes.. Very quiet with great views. 50 Alternate. this is a popular place for dune buggy enthusiasts. 95 and the shore of Walker Lake. a free dump and water is available at the Overton Beach Marina. There is no sign on the highway for Stewart Point. so bring your ear plugs on weekends. Nev. A free dump station is provided. Highway 266 is good dirt road. Shuffleboard. Hookups by donation or free dry camping. The casino’s walls are lined with memorabilia.Fallon About 25 miles east of town along U. Hazen (near Fallon) Tiny Hazen (pop. From Henderson. making the turnoff easy to miss.4 miles past the turnoff toe Echo Bay and turn right. This is a highly recommended and popular overnight stop for RVers traveling between Reno and Las Vegas. The town is restored to its original look. Lake Mead Stewart Point: Right on the shoreline of the lake. Gold Point “This wonderful ghost town is between Beatty and Goldfield. A good Basque restaurant is across the street. or try Sharkey’s famous prime rib. where there’s an awesome horse saddle collection. But beware. which has 24-hour free coffee. an old Pony Express station is nearby. 50 — the “Loneliest Road in America” according to Life Magazine — is Sand Mountain Recreation Area where there’s a free BLM campground right next door to a huge sand dune. 16 miles from the junction of highways 95 and 266 in the hills near the “notorious” Cottontail Ranch. pull in front of the shop as close to the building as possible or real close to the east side.S. By the way. including an original Abe Lincoln campaign poster. post office. Sheriff Stone and partner Red Dog are always happy to see RVers. are two free Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campgrounds with magnificent views of the ancient lake.
The Avi Casino. A quarter mile south of Harrah’s.S. Some of these RV-boondockers are there for a night or two. The lot also slopes quite a bit. There is a full service campground located here. Other popular free spots include a parking lot across from the Golden Nugget Casino. too. The bright parking lot lights are annoying. “finding a spot there is getting hard as the lot gets pretty full by 4 or 4:30 p. the Santa Fe Casino also attracts a large overnight RV crowd.” At the north end of Las Vegas along U. Las Vegas/Henderson South of Henderson (a Las Vegas suburb) near the intersection of U. One of the less attractive free places is the parking lot of the Colorado Belle Casino — pretty much a parking lot close to the noisy street.m. the Railroad Pass Casino permits overnight RV stays in its parking lot. 95. in the prime RV snowbird season. but close. Starting at the top of Casino Drive. about a third of the way to Beatty on U. This site north of Lathrop Wells. Tahoe’s other South Shore casinos have banned overnight stays in RVs for years and have quickly booted out those who tried. 95. The Riverside Hotel/Casino is another option: arrive early at the parking lot and you might get a spot along the fence with a river view. Water and dump facilities are also located by the gas station/convenience store with a small fee charged The Gold River Casino allows free overnight stays. just off Casino Drive. allows free dry camping on a huge dirt lot. The overnight area is very secure with guards making rounds constantly.” and we have been told that RVers stay overnight. Camping is $3 a Page 38 . We don’t know the official policy of either of these casinos regarding overnight stays. located approximately 10 miles south of town along the Colorado River at 10000 AHA Macav Parkway. no hookups. but when I drove by early one recent March morning. Laughlin In the winter. — THE EDITOR “I saw a lot of rigs parked right between the Excalibur and the Luxor when I was in Las Vegas last November.S. which is right along the Colorado River at ground zero of the casino and hotel area. there are dozens upon dozens of parking spots overlooking the Colorado River. is popular with off-road vehicle enthusiasts who also camp in the area. notes reader Emmy Hemhock. a thousand or more RVs can be seen boondocked all along Casino Drive. but it is allowed with the pass. It’s not free. The Colorado Belle Casino allows overnight camping but you must get a pass from the casino and sign up for its free gaming card. others for weeks or even months. many RVers were overnighting in the parking lots. The Big Bend State Recreation Area is five miles south of Laughlin on the Needles Highway. Nine RV sites are along the Colorado River. 93 and 95.” — MELANIE Lathrop/Amargosa Valley Big Dune has good places to dry camp for free. Signs indicate no overnight camping. but the price is right. Harrah’s has designated an RV parking area across the street from its casino.Lake Tahoe The Horizon Hotel and Casino reportedly has an area of its parking lot designated “RV parking. although.S.
Overton (Valley of Fire State Park) “Our favorite site is about four miles south of Overton. Great hamburgers at good prices. The casino is beautiful. And a tip: Take the free shuttle from the casino to the airport. but there are almost always trucks with engines running. a five-minute drive west of Reno on I-80.’ although I have seen some very expensive motorhomes there.” — KELLY Pahrump Two casinos.night. and there’s a onetime $3 park entrance fee. Reno/Sparks The Nugget Casino in Sparks (alongside I-80 a few miles east of Reno) has set aside a special RV parking area. and check out the tacky souvenir items related to alien beings and Area 51.” — PAT AND SYLVIA Editor’s note: Have a meal at the Little A’le’Inn. They have a 12 space RV park but if you ask in the A’le’ Inn (cafe/ bar) they will let you park out near the highway for free. No trucks are allowed in this lot. so it’s quite. It is a very popular area. A few years back they even delivered a complimentary morning newspaper. and then pick up a free shuttle there to downtown and its casinos. Terribles and the Nugget allow overnight stays in lighted parking lots. Check out the HUGE salt water aquarium and try to spot the freeway columns that support busy I-80 right overhead.” — E. We have stayed there several times at different times of the year for six years now and no one has ever said anything. stop by the Little A’le’ Inn on the ‘Exterrestrial Highway’ (State Route 375) in tiny Rachel. RVers can park in the lot of north side parking lot of the Peppermill Casino on South Virginia Ave. Open year round. Info: 702-298-1859. Mesquite The Casablanca Casino on the south end of town allows free overnight RV stays in two large parking lots. I have never seen less than 20 to 25 rigs set up there. near the east entrance to Valley of Fire State Park. It’s level. HEMHOCK Page 39 . too. and has generously permitted overnight stays for more than a decade. The Boomtown Hotel and Casino. but trucks may be present. But it works for a place to sleep. five other RVs were there for the night. but plenty of RVers hole up each night for free in a big parking lot on the west side of the hotel/casino. has a full-hookup pay campground. The Oasis also allows overnight stays. and just a short walk away. Rachel “If you are into Area 51 and aliens. referred to by locals as ‘Poverty Hill. Calif. Searchlight “There’s a large gravel lot across from the casino on the corner where the road goes to Nipton. The camping area spreads over at least a square mile. We were there in April and by evening. sometimes more than 50.
Pit toilets. Truckers are exempted. 95 is also good for overnight stops. however.S. offers RV camping for $5 a night. Go to the back to minimize noise from big rig trucks. USFS campground 11 miles east on SR 126. The Native Americanowned casino is west of Albuquerque. Page 40 . pit toilets. Eighteen hour stay maximum. 22 sites. Valmy (west of Battle Mountain along I-80) A rest area at exit 216 offers free stays up to 18 hours. right in the middle of the little town. There is ample shade and potable water. Inquire about the exact location at the police station. north of I-40 at exit 102.Tonopah North of town about 13 miles on U. NEW MEXICO Albuquerque/San Fidel The Sky City Casino permits free overnight stays in its parking lot. has a new law that prohibits overnight stays in RVs outside official campgrounds. Many RVers routinely stop here because commercial campgrounds in Tonopah are scarce (especially in the off-season). Wendover The Red Garter Casino advertises free overnight parking for RVs in its dirt parking lot. The rest area’s restrooms are clean. the Banc Club Casino allows overnight stays in its parking lot.S. NO! The city of Henderson. NO. Wells Free overnight parking is permitted on a dirt parking lot across the street from the only casino in town. A rest area on Highway 338 a half mile south of alternate U. No drinking water. no showers. Cuba Clear Creek. 95 is a quiet and clean state rest area where a sign announces that stops of up to 18 hours are permitted.S. 16foot limit. with water and electric hookups provided. next to Las Vegas. 60. Virginia City RVers can park a block below the main drag of town in a designated area. Open May 1 through October 31. Warning: Level spaces are hard to come by. BLM campground just a third of a mile west on SR 12 or on U. NO. Yerington Casino West Casino. In town. Datil Datil Well.
is a most rewarding site for tired RVers. Santa Fe is about 35 miles southeast. SAULSGIVER Speedy’s Truck Stop along I-40 at exit 16 allows overnight stays in a shared lot with truckers. Grants The Dancing Eagle Casino in Casa Blanca allows overnight camping. all next to a pleasant fishing pond. ”— G. and a dump station — G. — THE EDITOR Jal (vicinity of Carlsbad Caverns) “When I was visiting Carlsbad Caverns. 2000) that this campground along route 502 is now $6 a night. Gallup “Giant Travel Center.Deming The Loners On Wheels RV club’s home campground is at the LoW-HI RV Ranch. 45 miles southeast of Carlsbad in the very southeast corner of the state. We didn’t happen to use it on that trip.” — L. too) can boondock for $2 a night. water and a dump station. also offers free overnight stays. “anywhere they can find a spot. ELLIOT Chaparral City Park. where members (and nonmembers. Savoy Truckstop at exit 68 off I-10 allows RV overnight stays in a shared lot with truckers. Jamestown is a few minutes east of Gallup. COUSE Jamestown (Gallup) Giant Travel Center at exit 16 off I-40 allows overnight stays in a parking lot for RVs only. about 17 miles east of Gallup on I-40. The center has most everything you might need. two miles southeast of Lovington on State Route 82. Nearby is the Bandelier National Monument. Lovington The city park at Ave D and 11th Street has self-contained RV sites. Los Alamos “This past Memorial Day we saw a free RV parking area on route 502 just on the outskirts of the city. It appeared to be offered by the city. There was free electric.” acPage 41 . Hachita This tiny town of 75 in the Lordsburg vicinity offers free RV parking in town. NEKOLNY Editor’s note: A reader reports (March.” —N. We’re not sure of the details. I stayed overnight at the Jal city park. Moriarty RVers can stay the night at Rip Griffin’s Travel Center. who can park for free away from trucks and cars.
60. Police patrol the area. RVers are allowed to dry camp overnight for free if they ask permission.” — DAVID R. Flea markets are held here on occasion. but no hookups. located two miles east off I-35. Steins Located about three miles from the Arizona state line on I-10.” they said when we called. but this free campground looked clean and quiet. Lyons Free RV parking is offered in the city park. Watch for a hard to spot wrought iron sign on the north side of the highway. has a park with free RV spaces. “But just for one night. There’s also a lot of BLM land around. We didn’t spend the night. The town is next to the railroad tracks. then drive to the end of the road. Pietown “Pietown. Disney Little Blue State Park.” said the woman we spoke with there. Ask for directions in town. the city-owned Rampy Park on the east side of town has five paved full-hookup sites. There are electric hookups and showers. on U. Rip’s is located at exit 291 off I-40 along historic Route 66 east of Albuquerque. The city’s websites claims that Janes Wallace has the best trout.S. boating and fishing. This is one of 15 lakes in the “City of Natural Lakes” which is on I-40 between Albuquerque and Amarillo. Page 42 . “But we don’t have any hookups or anything like that. Steins is an interesting old ghost town that is being restored by its owners.cording to the person we talked with there. Billings Cimmarron Travel Plaza at exit 203 off I-35 allows an overnight stay.” — GYPSY JOURNAL NEWSPAPER OKLAHOMA Blackwell Free RV camping is offered at the Kay County fairgrounds. with electricity. “But you’re sure welcome to spend the night. Tatum “On Route 380 near the Texas border. Excellent camping.” Calera Choctaw Travel Plaza at the intersection of Highways 69 and 75 (Southwest Oklahoma) allows overnight stays in an RV. catfish and bass fishing in the area. Santa Rosa Janes Wallace Memorial Park and Dam. two miles from town. offers $8 a night TENT camping. so it may get a little noisy. The park is on the left.
no showers. 97. a half-mile west of Tuttle on Highway 57. Boat ramp and dock. no showers. just north of town. no drinking water. has full hookups and is nice. Check with the Tuttle police department. Tulsa Bruce’s Tulsa Texaco Plaza at exit 238 off I-44.” — R. vaulted toilets.S. Open May 25 through October 15. has water and electric hookups. Chiloquin/Klamath Falls The Kla mo-ya Indian Casino permits free RV parking. 30-night maximum stay. but overnight stays are free. Canyonville The Seven Feathers Casino along I-5 has a regular pay campground. no showers. vaulted toilets. 40 campsites. will allow a stay if the RVer buys fuel. while it does not see many RV overnighters.S. clean and shady.S. 30-foot limit. says its okay to stay.” they said. North Gate 76 Truck Stop. Take Exit 303 off I-84. HALL The Oasis Travel Center at exit 26 off I-40. pit toilets. 20. Idlewild. Free National Forest Service campground 17 miles north on U. National Forest Service campground 15 mi south on U. but also offers free camping at the south end of its parking lot as long as space permits. told us when we called that it would be “no problem. 22-foot limit. Burns Chickahominy Reservoir. 395. north of I-40.” — A READER OREGON Baker City Baker Truck Corral told us it “sees no problem” with RVers staying the night in its parking lot. “But no hookups. $8 per night. 24 sites. BLM campground 34 miles west of town on U. Open May 1 through October 15. I do not believe there is a charge for a one night stay in this park. Just pick a spot. Bend Fall River.” to stay overnight in an RV. Talihina A city RV park is located at Dallas and 1st Streets. Sites are not designated. 10 sites. Tuttle “The city park (Schrock Park). Page 43 .Sayre “The fairgrounds here.
S. but at $5 a night it’s a good deal. 101 in Gold Beach. Crescent Cy Bingham Park. seven miles up from U. offers free no-hookup parking in its casino lot. which is on the way to the popular Detroit Lake area. From Estacada. 18 Wheeler Truck Stop allows overnight stays in RVs in its parking lot. located on Highway 101 north of Coos Bay. Gold Beach “Huntley Park. travel southeast on Highway 224 to the campground. on the Rouge River. It’s located right in town. offers camping for $5 per night.S. 97. 97. and activities include fishing and hiking. 10 sites. Check in first for a window pass permit for each night. Open May 1 through October 31. STUCKEY Jordan Valley The city park on Highway 95 offers free overnight parking. pit toilets. Coquille Sturdivant City Park. $3 a night. No showers. offers free overnight parking along Coquille River. Walking distance to shops and restaurants. Estacada Alder Flat Campground (USFS) is located southeast of Estacada on the Clackamas River and offers six campsites at 1. Madras J & L Truck Stop enthusiastically welcomes RVers to stay the night in its 24-hour truck stop. offers about a dozen sites in a well-maintained grassy park with clean restrooms. Klamath Falls Hagelstein Park.Coos Bay The Mill Resort & Casino.” — M. a quarter mile west of Main Street. Page 44 . It’s located a couple of miles south of town on U. There are no hookups. about 10 miles north of town right alongside U. The campground is easily accessible from Highway 224.S. It’s not free. The location is great and the managers are helpful at this excellent family camp. County campground a half mile west of Crescent on Crescent cutoff road. but there’s water and showers. 14-night maximum stay. Also:See Chiloquin Lincoln City vicinity The Chinook Winds Casino on the beach in Lincoln City and the Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde on Highway 18 east of town (22 miles west of Salem) offer free overnight RV parking. Walking distance to town.300 feet elevation. Madras The city park behind the Post Office (a block off the main drag) permits overnight stays in selfcontained RVs.
22-foot limit. 20. then 1 mile west on FR 300. fishing and hiking. Prospect Natural Bridge. Open May 23 through September 10. 16-night maximum stay. Groceries available. but not time) between Bend and Sisters. 30-night maximum stay. Pit toilets. Prairie City Dixie. North Bend See Coos Bay. 16 sites. 22-foot limit. CRONIN Port Orford Edson Creek Park is about four miles north of town on U. Plush “Plush is at the edge of the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge about 40 miles northeast of Lakeview.Medford An overnight stay is permitted at the Petro Stopping Center at exit 24 off of I-5. Parking is in the same area as where employees park. 11 sites. then a half-mile north on FR 1220. no drinking water.” — B. Motorhomes under 28 feet will have no problem. Swimming. Travel 14.6 miles west on Highway 242. Seneca Starr. National Forest Service campground 10 miles north on U. This is a National Forest Service campground 10 miles north on SR 62. 14 sites. vaulted toilets. 101 and then another four miles (or so) east on Sixes River Road. Open May 25 through November 1. Open May 15 through September 15. 11 sites.S. Long RVs should not attempt this narrow. 395. 22-foot limit. Sweet Home Fernview. no showers. Pit toilets. no showers. one of the best in the West. National Forest Service campground 7 miles northeast on SR 26. National Forest Service campground 23 miles east on U. A campsite is $10. From Sisters. Park way in the back or over by the restaurant along with the big rigs. no drinking water. pit toilets. You can stay free in a lot behind the city park. No showers. Pendleton Arrowhead Truck Plaza allows overnight stays. Page 45 . 30-night maximum stay. Sisters Lava Camp Lake Campground is west of Sisters near McKenzie Pass. No showers. This free campground is on the edge of a massive and spectacular lava flow. Take exit 216 off I-84. curvy highway. This scenic highway is a shortcut (in miles.S.S. 14-night maximum stay. Open June 1 through November 1.
tennis court. Donations are accepted. 14-night maximum stay.S. flush toilets.Lost Prairie.3 miles northwest of town on U. vaulted toilets. playground. a quarter mile north of town on route 281. 10 sites. 212 and Main street. allows an overnight stay in its parking lot. at the very southern part of the state at exit 21 off I-5. Of the 12 sites. 20 is a scenic route over the Cascades between Corvallis and Bend. Hot Springs “I stayed the night in the American Legion lot. No showers. pit toilets. U. 12.S. 3-night maximum stay. offers free camping with some electric hookups. Idaho. Gettysburg Gettysburg City Park. The parking lot is big. No hookups or other special RV facilities. there’s a bike path by the river and a $2 outdoor ‘all you can eat’ pancake joint. No hookups. Open June 1 through November 1. U. 20. vaulted toilets.S. 30. very nice. four have free electric hookups. 16-night maximum stay. I was told that RVers stay there on occasion. Info: 605/397-8422. 30-amps. offers three free nights of camping with elecPage 46 . has 30 sites for free overnight stays and is open all year. SOUTH DAKOTA Aberdeen Wylie City Park. 22-foot limit. Groton Up to three days of free camping is allowed in the city park. Open May 1 through Sept. 26. wading pool. just a place to park. Open May 15 through September 15. 5 blocks south of the junction of U. Talent Talent Truck Stop. 14 sites. 10 miles and 9. I suppose if there was something big going on then maybe they wouldn’t allow an RVer to stay. Both are open May 28 through September 15.” — R.S. These are two National Forest Service campgrounds.S. National Forest Service campground 10 miles east on SR 244. OLIVER Pierre Griffin City Park. no drinking water.S.” — DAVE B. 20 is a main road between western Oregon and Boise. which is toward the north end of town on Main Street two blocks south of U. no showers. Ukiah Bear Wallow Creek Campground. with 20 sites and flush toilets. Six sites. Both are only suitable for short RVs. No showers. Unity Wetmore and Yellow Pine. dump station. pool. National Forest Service campground 40 miles east on U. 45-foot limit. Miller “The city park.
this park is used a lot.” — D.” — L. Free dry camping. Two free nights are offered for free at Lion’s Park. 385. 62/82. 10-night maximum stay. Open May 28 through September 6. just south of Amarillo on I-27. & B. but no hookups. a Corpus Christi city park. no drinking water. pool. It’s very nice and alongside the Missouri River just east of Pierre on U. camping with hookups. Open May 1 to October 1. It’s on the north end of town within easy walking distance of the university. no reservations. There are all sorts of recreational opportunities here. Fishing and boat ramp. TEXAS Abilene Johnson Park (5 sites) and Seebee Park (4 sites) at Lake Fort Phantom. Brownfield “There is a free campground with water and electric in the city park. Since I-37 is a main highway for winter Texans. south of Bowie on Highway 59. Includes electricity with water nearby and a dump station. but no drinking water. Pit toilets.” — A READER Page 47 . No showers. There is a visitor center and a restroom. a grocery store and restaurants. 5 miles east on U. has a nice campground for $5 a night (honor system). Brownfield is 40 miles southwest of Lubbock on U.” — D. Vermillion. No fee. Flush toilets. Pringle Rifle Pit. It’s a nice campground in a friendly town. 48-hour limit. Large park area with community center. Andrews “Chamber of Commerce Campground offers six free sites with all utility hookups near Prairie Dog Town with a three day limit. National Forest campground.S. Carter Lake.S. Bowie Selma Park on west side of Amon G. 14 sites. It’s great for overnight. Extra days are $5 each. 83 and 14.tricity.S. 6 are for RVs. Wal-Mart. & B. which is right on the Nueces River. YOUNG Big Lake Reagan County Park. but $3 per night if you use electricity. BASS Canyon “Canyon. but kids love to watch them. BASS Corpus Christi “On the southbound side of I-37 coming into the Corpus Christi area is Labonte Park. Train tracks nearby can be a little noisy.
There is water and dump station available. 82 Denver City About five miles north of town is a nice county park that charges $14 per night. The park is located on U. and a dump station at “The City of Hospitality. on the west side of the road. For entertainment. CROSSLEY Gainesville “The outlet mall on north end of town has an RV area.” Hamblin The city of Hamblin has a free overnight RV park at the 300 block of N.” — THE FRIZZ Goldthwaite City Park has overnight RV parking. After that it’s $5 per night. There are no hookups.m. Crosbytown is about 25 miles east of Lubbock on U. In the busy season it’s a good idea to arrive before 2 p.S. 16. It is city owned and there is no charge. just one mile from Falcon Dam and Falcon State Park. There are 8 spaces with water and electric and a dump station. gas. A caretaker lives on the premises. but water. Highway 183 and Texas Rt. according to the clerk we talked with at City Hall.S. five nights maximum. Page 48 . Dumas There is a nice gravel (no grass) lot with 30 amp (only) electric hookups west of Dumas on Highway 87 alongside Texoma City Park. there’s a playground. However.” — J.25 a day afterwards or $35 a month. water. the amount will be deducted from your nightly fee.S. Falcon Heights “A campsite at Falcon County Park.). Dumas is in north Texas in the Amarillo area. Hallettsville Hallettsville City Park. At intersection of U. but no one collected from me. Enjoy free camping. They might charge. If you are northbound on I-45 and miss the mall. etc.Crosbyton The city park has five sites for RVs and is right on the main street through town. Amenities include water. if you bring along a receipt (or receipts) of money spent in town (restaurants. look for the Indian Bingo place on the right just into Oklahoma.S. There’s no electric. electricity and a dump station. electricity. Highway 83. Central and U. is free the first night and $1. plus a pond with ducks and fish. to ensure getting a space. This is a real convenient and clean park. and a dump are at the State Park.” — DOUG Floydada “The first two nights are free at Floydada’s Wayne Russell RV Park. There’s a pool and playground at this clean and convenient park. 70 (1st Street) at the north end of town (at Taft Street).
Iraan is a short detour off I-10 about an hour east of Fort Stockton. is a half-mile south of U. Levelland Levelland-Hockley City-County Park is on U.S. — CITY OF HERFORD Iraan City-owned Alley Oop Park is five blocks west and two blocks north of the intersection of U.S. pull-thru sites and lots of big trees.S. which has a dump station. A dump station is nearby. Public tennis courts are nearby. The parks are patrolled by rangers and sheriff’s deputies.” — DAVE B. The campground has trees and is next to Lake Junction. The park has a dump station. day-use areas (Kimball Bend Park. Walling Bend Park. 84. named for the famous country western singer born here. There is no charge to stay. 180 on Texas Route 137. Littlefield Waylon Jennings RV Park. You can stay up to four days in a one-month period. but you must register with the police department. Formerly free. and it worked out well. Camping is limited to four days in any 30-day period. McKEEL La Mesa Forest Park City Park at South 9th Street and Bryan Avenue offers up to three days of free camping with electric hookups available for a fee. Very clean and attractive. The campground has electric and water and is quiet. Payment after the first night is on the honor system. Littlefield is 30 miles northwest of Lubbock on U. 190 and TX 349. walking track and YMCA. was that the restrooms were in disrepair and dirty. Page 49 . which is very nice with full hookups (30 & 50 amp). Cedar Creek Park) that permit up to 14 days of free camping per 30 day period (tent or RV). Littlefield is about 30 miles northwest of Lubbock on U. however.S. Livingston “I stayed the Pump and Handle Truck Stop on the west end of town. The first night is free. although there is a box for contributions. 84. Our last reader report. 385 on the south side of town with seven sites with water and electric and/or electric. All have boat ramps and chemical toilets but no electrical or water hookups and no dump stations. Lake Whitney “The Corps of Engineers has four. The park has a pond. The park. Dumpsters are provided. most with water and electric. then it’s $9 a night.” — O. offers 100 sites. Junction Exit 456 on I-10 and go south to Schreiner City Park where camping is free. as of mid 2001 a campsite is $10. Hereford Five RV sites with water and electricity are available for up to a 24-hour stay at the Hereford Aquatic Center. The downtown area of Levelland has much charm. Steeles Creek Park.Haskell The city park has an RV campground.S.
Trash cans are every hundred yards or so. electric. Perrytown Whigham City Park is within the city at U. flush toilets (locked in winter). limit two days. Water. about 51 miles south of Odessa. Restaurants and stores are close by. CROSSLEY Page 50 . 385). Grant Ave. There are four RV sites with water and electric.S. Dump station. toilets and a dump station are available with a three day limit. No hookups. San Angelo “Spring Creek City Park. on Fisherman’s Road (off of Knickerbocker) on the way to the airport. A lot of people stay the entire winter on the beach. Take a left. Go five miles north on U. 385 to just past 42nd to the county fairgrounds. There is no time limit and the water and dump are free. Just pick a spot. Odessa Exit 116. and it’s on the right next to the railroad tracks and a city park. but there’s water. Mansfield Camp for free in a city park.htm Pampa “There is a free campground here.” — TERRY P. Port Aransas With a six dollar annual permit that can be obtained at City Hall or local convenience stores. (Ppdate mid 2001: A fee of $10 is now charged).S. There is no charge.” — A READER Silverton “The City Park on the south side of state highway 86 has two electric-only hookups. Turn north on Route 70 off Route 60 and go about one block.S. Padre Island (near Corpus Christi) You can camp free at Padre Island National Seashore. Read more at http://wildtexas. Police patrol the area. McCamey At the crossroads of highways 385 and 67. but right on the beach so you can fish from your front door. you can camp on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico for three days in a given week. There are no hookups. It might not be enough power for AC or an electric heater.” — J. I-20 (U.Lubbock Rip Griffin’s on Highway 6282 East allows overnight stays in RVs.com/travels/tr_22. offers free camping. and playground. A $2 dump station is at the county park at the north end of the island. go about a block. An employee at the First State Bank of Silverton told me about them. Several of the light poles have outlets. Two free sites behind the museum on east side of town on Hwy 67. but you would have enough for lights. The only cost is an annual $20 fee. 83 and FM 377.
Beautiful paved “River Walk” in both directions from picnic area. 191 on Rt. 89 at exit 09 permits a single night overnight stay in a separate lot from where the truckers park. are several pullout “boondock” BLM camps along the Colorado River. In mid 2001 the BLM posted fee boxes on most of these spots. $10 a night. migrations bring thousands of bird species to the lagoon and freshwater ponds. a beautiful shortcut for travelers headed to I-70 and points east.S. as temps can exceed 100 degrees in the summer. South Padre Island An extensive visitor center. and are in beautiful settings. Wichita Falls The City RV Park has water and electricity. There’s an honor system toll box. Police patrol regularly. Donations are accepted. Plenty of trees. and so there may now be a small fee to stay. Go to far east end of the parking lot and park on gravel rather than on the asphalt adjacent to a grassy picnic area. Best time to stay is in Spring or Fall. No water or dump.Slaton There is free camping at Slaton’s city park with water and electric hookups.S.S. Since Laguna Madre is located on the central flyway. UTAH Duchesne Free Camping. Page 51 . Lots of boondocking spots on the south side of Highway 211 beginning just before Newspaper Rock State Monument. a creek and some picnic tables. 40 on Center Street to the fairground. at the fairgrounds. truck stop on U. Five miles west of U. 48 hour limit. Turn south off U. The limit is three days. Shade trees and dump station. Moab Just northwest of town on State Route 128. about 25 spaces and can accommodate rigs up to about 35 feet. Orderville is east of Zion National Park.S. They are not far from Moab. Primitive camping is allowed at no cost along the entire length of the Gulf beach and selected areas along Laguna Madre. Newspaper Rock Thirteen miles west of U. Orderville The Ramsey Oil Co. Follow the blue trailer signs in town that lead to the park at the fairgrounds. No hookups. picnic area and developed campground are available at Malaquite Beach. 191 on the road to the Needles entrance to Canyonlands National Park. Mexican Hat Lions Club Park offers eight spaces with concrete pads. 279 there is a little strip of state land on both sides of the road were there is plenty of free boondocking parking.
Thompson Springs “Located on I-70 about 100 miles west of Grand Junction. Buckley Evans Creek. Coulee Dam Recreation Area Haag Cove Campground. go west nine miles on the main road toward Anacortes and the San Juan Ferry. Colorado. Sego Canyon offers free camping with a pit toilet (no hookups). There are some structures still standing. The casino is right there. according to the Chamber of Commerce. 97. Please respect the spirituality of this place. National Park Service campground. Immediately after crossing over the big Swinomish Channel Bridge. turn right onto Casino Drive. From I-5. National Forest Service campground 35 miles south on Highway 165. Cle Elum Swauk. Asotin/Clarkston An overnight stay is allowed in the Asotin city park. At the campsite there are Native American petroglyphs and pictographs. Also. then 10 miles north on U. 27 sites. But no “setting up camp. commonly used by RVers. It’s located just below the Idaho border at exit 394 off I-15. RVers park on the fringes of the parking lot where they are out of the way and where it’s quiet. Take the Thompson Springs exit and follow the paved road through town to Sego Canyon which is about three miles past the town. BROWN Wendover The Wendover Truck Stop at exit 4 off I-80 offers overnight stays and has a dump station. Pit toilets. Take away only memories!” — E.S. No showers. Open May 25 through September 30 22-foot limit. Asotin is just south of Clarkston.Plymouth Tri Valley Chevron allows RVers to stay one night in its parking lot. WASHINGTON Anacortes The Swinhomish (Indian) Casino has a big dirt parking lot with a special area set aside for overnight RV stays. or in a big parking lot by the grocery store. There are also several pullouts up the Snake River. Open May 1 through September 30. 8 miles south of Kettle Falls on Page 52 . National Forest Service campground 12 miles east on U.S. There are many places right along the water at high tide. no drinking water. 970.” There are no designated sites. Chehalis Chehalis Shell Truck Stop at exit 72 off I-5 told us they “don’t care” if RVers stay the night. vaulted toilets. which is along a creek. No showers. about three miles past Sego Canyon is the old ghost town of Sego.
there is a gift shop with a 20' Sasquatch and a ‘buried A-Frame. It’s located in Manson. Odessa is 20 miles north of I-90 at the intersections of state highways 21 and 28 in eastern Washington. but if you have dinner or buy something from the store. Odessa A grassy tourist park allows free RV camping. But check with the Truck Stop office first. boating.. Big B seemed more enthusiastic about the idea of RVers staying. The small community has a 9 hole golf course with no tee times necessary. dock. But trucks are first priority.’ The owner lets you park in a large grassy area next to the gift shop and public restrooms. Darrington Clear Creek is a National Forest Service campground. says it’s “no problem” for an RVer to stay the night to catch some sleep. at 455 E Wapato Lake Road. Humptulips Promised Land Park is on Highway 101. Open May 1 through September 30. two miles north of town. No showers. Mount Vernon Truck City Truck Stop at exit 224 off I-5. Helens “At about Milepost 19 on State Route 504 (the main tourist highway to the volcano). Mount Vernon is midway between Seattle and the Canadian border. Ellensburg Both the Big B Truck Stop and Pilot Travel Center allow overnight stays in RVs. 10 sites. the fee will likely be waived. Page 53 . 24-hour attendant.paved county road.” — DEAN H. Vaulted toilets.) allows RV overnight parking if the RV arrives early and then leaves early. no drinking water. no drinking water. according to the person we spoke with. There is a charge for parking. Of the two. Truck Town will allow an overnight stay for $10 or for free for RVers who buy 75 gallons of fuel. three miles southeast of town on FR 20. It’s owned by the Rayonier Timber Company and offers free parking on the river for up to five days a month. There are restrooms. Longview Industrial Way Truckstop at exit 16 off I-5 (only a few minutes north of Portland. — GYPSY JOURNAL NEWSPAPER Lake Chelan The Mill Bay Casino offers free RV parking with a three day limit. Swimming. 26-foot limit. North Bend (east of Seattle) Ken’s Truck Stop allows an overnight stay. fire pits and picnic tables. Mount St. No showers. Ore. Take exit 34 off I-90. Info:l 800-648-2946. pit toilets.
NEU Republic Ten Mile. Open May 25 through September 10. is yet another WalMart where RVers stay. A new WalMart opened in 2000 right along I-5 on the east side. Park with the big rig trucks or. Park. and the ferry ride from there to downtown Seattle (where you can walk to everything) is fun. 12395. It’s a left hand turn.S. Lake Wallula. is another new Wal-Mart that allows overnight stays. No showers. Turn right on Hayford Road.Oroville “Check out Prince’s RV. 22-foot limit. and it allows overnight stays. King City Truck Stop permits overnight stays in RVs. At McNary Lock and Dam. behind the motel where it’s quieter. Vaulted toilets. better yet.97 per night with a great view. Another 25-minutes north. Port Townsend “Haines Place Park and Ride is next to Safeway and allows overnight camping if you call for permission ( 260-385-4777). To get to the campground. 45-foot limit.” — J.S. North of Seattle along I-5 (about a 25-minute drive in light traffic) is Lynnwood. To get there. Check posted signs when entering. Corps of Engineers campground. A free shuttle will take you there. Puyallup The Puyallup Fairgrounds in Puyallup has a RV park with full hookups at $12-$16/night. this is a good price for the Puget Sound area. Prince’s store (grocery/department) is just feet away. The truck stop is on East Hillsboro Street. so most of the time there’s space. but only $5. take the Segwick exit from Highway 16 and turn towards town. Spokane/Airway Heights The Northern Quest Casino permits free overnight RV says in its parking lot. National Forest Service campground. the mothball fleet in Bremerton is interesting. exit I-90 onto U. There are about 160 spaces. If you like old ships. 18 miles south of Pasco on U. on the east side of I-5 in Burlington. It’s not free.” —KARLY Pasco Madame Dorion Park. about 20 minutes beyond Marysville on the west side of I-5. 2 West and four miles to the town of Airway Heights. There are occasional events that occupy the entire park so call (253) 841-5018 to check for availability. Vaulted toilets. but there’s a fresh water station and dump station and decent showers. It’s not within walking distance of the ferry system. Take a left at the first light (Bethal) and travel towards town. Page 54 . Farther north. Electricity and water holdups only. Port Orchard There’s a nice free campground here for self-contained RVs in a small stand of old growth trees. 10 miles south on SR 21. While not free. Park and Ride is located a few miles from the historic downtown. There are no hookups or restrooms. but Port Orchard buses run nearby and their main stop is at the passenger-only ferry to Bremerton. 14-night maximum stay. Ask if you wish to stay longer than one night.
A Flying J Truck Stop is at the intersection of U. S. dumpster. Cokeville is west of Kemmerer on U. don’t miss Jackalope Square. which is near the state fairgrounds and the local Chamber of Commerce on the northeast side of town. Toledo Gee Cees Truck stop at exit 57 off I-5 told us they didn’t see any reason why an RVer couldn’t stay the night. Tonasket The Tonasket Visitor Center. He perked up when we suggested that payment for such a stay might be a fuel fill up. The area is quiet except for an occasional train. both owned by Rick and Judy Brengle who operate the store. and is on the way to Devils Tower National Monument.The casino is just ahead. 48 hours) for RVers and tenters is allowed in pretty city-operated Riverside Park. Take a photo to impress your friends.99 T-bone steak.S. in the northwest area of town near city limits (between Winesap and Western. Cokeville Two nights of free camping is allowed in the city park. WYOMING Afton “Lincoln Park. Take exit 370 off I-80. bordering the railroad) has eight RV hookup sites at $10 a night. call ahead if you can (307) 896-2226. offers free camping. This tiny town is in the far northeast corner of the state on State Route 24 northwest of Spearfish. Amenities: dump station.. Page 55 . Douglas Free camping (max. Tenters are warned not to camp in the grassy area or risk being soaked by the sprinklers that come on at night. showers. propane. Aladdin “Free overnight stopovers in self-contained RVs are permitted at the Aladdin store or at the fairgrounds. 30. Watch out Holiday Inn! While in town. 30 and State Route 232 where there’s a big parking lot. on Route 89 on the Idaho border. In town. but it’s more of a parking lot than a campground. even automatic hand blow dryers. a canopy of hundreds of antlers goes all the way across the main street. 11 miles southeast of the Idaho border.D.” — DAVE B. home to a giant jackalope. If you want to stay. free dump and a $9.S.” — SALLY (who lives in Aladdin) Cheyenne Sapp Brothers Truck Stop will allow an overnight stay “as a rule” according to the fellow we talked with there. So you might want to check with the Fuel Desk when you arrive to double check it’s okay.
Sheridan “The City of Sheridan’s Washington Park on Coffeen allows free camping for self-contained RVs. FALES Little America This is a handy stopping place along I-80 (exit 68) west of Green River. There’s a dump station and water faucets.S. but the local citizens say they are trying to fix things up. This is open range country and cows come into town. STANLEY Rawlins Rip Griffin’s Travel Center doesn’t have an official policy about RVers staying overnight. although donations are accepted. HART Powell “Homesteader Park is just east of town on Highway 14A.” — ROBIN Granger “You can park for free in the city park.” — W. at Second Street offers two days of free camping.” —A. but the person we talked with there said she didn’t see that there would be a problem. We stayed three weeks and it was fantastic. restrooms and pay showers are nearby. gift shop.” — DAVE B. Glenrock “The rodeo grounds and park allows free camping. Lander “The Lander City Park allows free camping. Lovell A park on Quebec Ave. Pinedale/Stanley’s Junction “Free overnight parking is permitted at the Food Mart at Stanley’s Junction at the intersection of U. Take Exit 214 off I-80. One night of camping for self-contained RVs is permitted in the southwest parking area or with tractor-trailer parking. but watch where you step for cowpies. Granger and its park are a little run down. The park has large trees and a gravel parking area. So our advice is to check in with the Fuel Desk when you arrive and make sure it’s okay to stay. There are a couple dozen RV sites with a two day limit. 189 and 191 west of Pinedale.” — D. There’s a big grassy area for tents and a dry parking area for RVs. Kaycee The city park offers free camping in a stand of cottonwood trees. but there are no individual sites.Evanston Hat Six Travel Plaza at exit 182 off I-25 says it “does not see a problem” with RVers staying overnight. A creek and Page 56 . Grander is on Highway 30 about 5 miles west of Little America (see below) and 25 miles west of Green River. A restaurant.
The sites are large and most are shaded. Don’t stay the 4th of July. which we have outlined in this section. blowing horns at RR crossing making sleep difficult. The following are the supplePage 57 . and that inappropriate areas are not used for extended periods. The designation of LTVAs assures that specific locations are available for long-term use year after year. but there are restrooms (no showers). in most cases. and camping at short term and long term visitor areas. Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) The purpose of the LTVA program is to provide areas for long-term winter camping use. Stays on other public lands costs nothing. public restrooms and water fill for a charge. There’s a free dump station. Railroad tracks nearby and trains pass all day and night. however. on public lands not otherwise posted or closed to camping. The program was established to safely and properly accommodate the increasing demand for long-term winter visitation and to provide natural resource protection through improved management of this use. and $125 for the LTVA permit for a stay of up to seven months (from Sept. Wheatland City-owned Lewis Park offers both RV and tent sites. and an RVer has literally millions of acres to choose from. The sites designated as LTVAs are. Stays are limited to 10 days and payment is voluntary. Donations accepted. as the partying gets pretty loud. Visitors may camp without an LTVA permit outside of LTVAs. Free dump stations and pay showers are at the swimming pool. No water hookups. sewer disposal facilities and restrooms. Short Term Visitor Areas and Long Term Visitor Areas involve a fee. $25 for the short term (14 consecutive days) permit.“ — RON Torrington A free municipal campground is right along the Platt River at 15th and Green Streets. “Boondocking” comes in three forms: dispersed camping on public lands. A nine-hole golf course is nearby. and environmental assessments were completed for each site location. There are 16 sites with 30-amp power available. STVAs and LTVAs have some amenities like trash collection. CAMPING ON GOVERNMENT LANDS IN ARIZONA AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA Here is the official word on free and low-cost camping on Arizona and Southern California’s public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 15 to April 15). dump stations. for up to 14 days in any 28-day period. There are some rules. Designated sites were selected using criteria developed during the land management planning process.very busy street are adjacent. For info call the Sheridan Parks Department at (307) 674-7412. the traditional use areas of long-term visitors. with about a dozen with 30-amp service.
Subpart 8365. you must maintain a minimum of 15 feet of space between dwelling units. Pickup campers may be set on jacks manufactured for that purpose. The following supplemental rules apply year-long to all public land users who enter the LTVAs. Permit Revocation. or guest’s conduct is inconsistent with the goal of BLM’s LTVA Program. 4. Any permittee whose permit is revoked must remove all property and leave the LTVA system within 12 hours of notice. Do not block roads or trails commonly in public use with your parked vehicles. to 6 a. 0-1 through 1-7. The permit. The permit may not be reassigned or transferred by the permittee. permittee’s family. 9. For your safety and privacy. Camping units or campsites must not be left unoccupied within any LTVA for periods of greater than 5 days unless approved in advance by an authorized BLM officer. in accordance with applicable state time zone standards. Unoccupied Camping Units. 7. Operation of audio devices or motorized equipment. funds only. The revoked permittee will not be allowed into any other LTVA in Arizona or California for the remainder of the LTVA season. Permit Transfers. There are two types of permits: Long-term and short-visit. 8. Access. Noise. Wheels must remain on all wheeled vehicles. Quiet Hours. Failure to return any LTVA permit to an authorized BLM officer upon demand is a violation of this supplemental rule. 1. The Permit. The permit authorizes the camper to stay within any designated LTVA using the camping or dwelling unit(s) indicated on the permit between the period from September 15 to April 15. U. No refunds are made on permit fees. Campers. Amplified music is allowed only within La Posa and Imperial Dam LTVAs and only in locations designated by BLM or when approved in advance by an authorized BLM officer. in a manner that makes unreasonable noise as determined by the authorized BLM officer is prohibited. for the entire season and any part of the season. An authorized BLM officer may revoke. A permit is required to camp in a designated LTVA between September 15 and April 15. with the adhesive backing. To be valid. A maximum of two (2) secondary vehicles is permitted. 2.m. Removal of Wheels and Campers.mental rules for the designated LTVAs and are in addition to rules of conduct set forth in Title 43. including generators. The short-term permit is $25 for 14 consecutive days. Page 58 . Code of Federal Regulations. The long-term permit fee is $125. 5. 10. The short-visit permit may be renewed an unlimited number of times for the cost of $25.S.m. any LTVA permit issued to any person when the permittee violates any BLM rule or regulation. or as otherwise posted. the short-visit permit decal or long-term permit decal must be affixed at the time of purchase. to the bottom right-hand corner of the windshield of all transportation vehicles and in a clearly visible location on all camping units. Parking. trailers. Quiet hours are from 10 p. 3. and other dwelling units must remain mobile. without reimbursement. or when the permittee. 6.
15. or systems which utilize portable holding tanks. camping is restricted to self-contained camping units only. A maximum of 1 cubic yard (3' x 3' x 3') of firewood will be allowed per individual or group campfire at any one time. The La Posa. This includes. Livestock. Unattended and unwatched pets may fall prey to coyotes or other desert predators. Campfires are permitted in LTVAs subject to all local. Place all trash in designated receptacles. except within 500 feet of a vault or rest room. No wood collection is permitted within the LTVAs. etc. Off-Highway Vehicle Use.) within LTVA boundaries is permitted only when approved in advance by an authorized BLM officer. Keep an eye on your pets. The speed limit in LTVAs is 15 m. ruins. 13. cattle. Self-Contained Vehicles. Trash. trails. Structures and Landscaping. 18. 16. Depositing trash or holding-tank sewage in vault toilets is prohibited. Pets. Tamarisk. Self-contained units must have a permanent affixed waste water holding tank of 10-gallon minimum capacity. Imperial Dam. or permanent holding tanks of less than 10-gallon capacity are not considered to be self-contained. Wood Collection.p. 19. Cultural Resources. dog runs. state. Sanitary dump station locations are shown in the LTVA brochure. LTVA permits are required for dumping within all LTVA campgrounds except for the Midland LTVA. An LTVA permit is required for trash disposal within all LTVA campgrounds except for the Mule Mountain LTVA. Midland. petroglyphs. and washes. and county sanitation laws and county ordinances specifically prohibit these practices. or as otherwise posted. Page 59 . storage units. but not limited to. and Federal regulations. sheep. Painting rocks or defacing or damaging any natural or archaeological feature is prohibited.stones. or by any other means. Please contact the nearest BLM office for current regulations concerning wood collection. and artifacts that may occur on public lands. or disposal and possession of these used substances within an LTVA is strictly prohibited. goats. Fixed structures of any type are prohibited and temporary structures must conform to posted policies.h. The changing of motor oil. vehicular fluids. In Pilot Knob. This includes motor oil and any other waste products: Federal. Alterations to the natural landscape are not allowed. and windbreaks. Comply with posted rules. Motorized vehicles must remain on existing roads. 17. gray water. 14. Campfires. Dumping. state. Boarding of livestock (horses. or garbage on the ground. 11. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. and Mule Mountain LTVAs are restricted to self-contained camping units. but is not limited to fences. 12. Port-a-potty systems. Public trash facilities are shown in the LTVA brochure. Do not disturb any archaeological or historical values including. 20. historic buildings. Pet owners are responsible for cleanup and sanitary disposal of pet waste. Speed Limit. 21. and Hot Springs LTVAs. wooden barricades. Absolutely no dumping of sewage.
Please contact the nearest BLM office for information on vending or concession permits. including ultralights and hot air balloons. Highway 95. Aircraft Use. Any commercial activity requires a vending permit. Food. 31. and local laws and regulations applicable to the LTVA and shall keep the LTVA and. 32. the posted rules take precedence. Overnight occupancy is prohibited in desert washes in Imperial Dam and La Posa LTVAs. and sanitary condition. ditches. Construction and use of other access points are prohibited. in a neat. beverages. issuance of a citation.22. their campsite. 23. 28. Length of stay in an LTVA between April 16 and September 14 is limited to 14 days in a 28-day period. and/or arrest which may require appearance before a U. specifically. All camping within Wiley’s Well and Coon Hollow campgrounds is restricted to designated sites only and is limited to one (1) camping or dwelling unit per site. 24. Access to La Posa LTVA is restricted to legal access roads along U.S. It is prohibited to operate any vehicle in violation of state or local laws and regulations relating to use. Observe all posted rules. Vehicle Use. 29. Individual LTVAs may have additional specific rules. Firearms. Hot Spring Spa and Day Use Area. Day use hours are 5 a. Violation of these supplementary rules may result in revocation of the LTVA permit. state.S. registration.m. 33. glass containers. Page 60 . LTVA permit holders are required to observe all Federal. Tamarisk. 25. standards. and inspection.000 and/or one-year imprisonment. Mule Mountain LTVA. Length of Stay. and pets are prohibited within the fenced-in area at the Hot Springs Spa. such as fences. Pilot Knob LTVAs and within 2 miles of Midland LTVA. Posted Rules. 27. Landing or taking off of aircraft. to midnight. orderly. Imperial Dam and La Posa LTVAs. If posted rules differ from these supplemental rules. operation. After the 14th day of occupation campers must move outside of a 25mile radius of the previous location. soap. This includes removal or modification of barricades. Other Laws. No camping is allowed within 1 mile of Hot Spring. is prohibited in LTVAs. and berms. La Posa LTVA. 26. Vending Permits. 30. Magistrate or penalties up to $100. Perimeter Camping. The discharge or use of firearms or weapons is prohibited inside or within 1/2 mile of the LTVAs.
Pilot Knob LTVA Pilot Knob is south of Interstate 8 near Sidewinder Road. Use hours for the spa area are 5 a. and camp hosts. Mesquite trees and various species of cacti. There is a hand water pump at Wiley well camp site (elevation 590 feet) nearby but no kind of connection to fill holding tanks so take along enough water and dump before you leave. The campground is approximately 3. At one time. ramadas and dance floor / music performance area. Proceed south past the state prison. to midnight. flat landscape. This Long Term Visitor Area is located North of Yuma on the California side of the Colorado River. The Fort Yuma Indian Reservation borders public lands near Pilot Knob. The marker is located just north of Interstate 8 on Sidewinder Road.m. Turn left onto Senator Wash Road and follow it for approximately 3 miles to the campgrounds. Soap and shampoo are not allowed in the hot spring. trash removal. Palo Verde trees. vault toilets. Since only minimum camping facilities are available. west of Yuma barely about the Mexico border. Tke the 4th Avenue exit to Imperial County a Road S-24. This is a nice camping area with garbage disposal. There is also a rest stop on the north side of the I-10 interchange with a sanitary dump. The camping area is designated as a LTVA.500 acres in size. dump station and outdoor restrooms. This is a desert road and can be quite rough at times. Services available are a trash facility. Facilities include grey water dump sites. the historic and still-active hot spring attracts both local and winter visitors. The LTVA is a popular camping spot. mostly various types of Page 61 . The area in and around Pilot Knob is rich in both human and natural history. Mule Mountain LTVA This site is located south of Interstate 10. Turn south on Wiley’s Road at interchange approximately 15 miles west of Blythe or approximately 29 miles east of Desert Center. A State of California Historic Marker lies on the site of Patton’s camp. southwest of Blythe. Hot Springs LTVA East of Holtville on Old Highway 80. use Interstate 8 to Yuma. Pay telephones and dump station facilities are nearby in Holtville. two restroom facilities with outdoor showers.LTVA locations California Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area The Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) was created in 1983 to fulfill the needs of winter visitors and to protect the local desert ecosystem from overuse. General Patton’s troops trained here in preparation for desert fighting in World War II. A temporary fee of $4 for RVs and $2 for “blue boy” holding tanks is required. only self-contained camping units are allowed. Since only minimum camping facilities are available. Go north approximately 22 miles to Senator Wash Road. black water dump site with water. To get there. If you have an all terrain vehicle there are many rockhound areas to pick up semi-precious rocks. Ironwood trees. sparsely vegetated with plants such as Creosote bushes. Ariz. only self-contained camping units are allowed.
trash services. Features include cultural sites. only self-contained camping units are allowed. dry dump station. 4th Street El Centro. Palo Verde trees. unique desert scenery. BLM El Centro Field Office 1661 S. Activities include camping. Tamarisk LTVA Located off State Highway 98 west of Yuma and Pilot Knob LTVA. Midland LTVA can be accessed eight miles north on Lovekin Road. Arizona La Posa Long Term Visitor Area The La Posa Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) was created in 1983 to fulfill the needs of winter visitors and to protect the local desert ecosystem from over use. (Lovekin Road will turn into Midland Road two miles north of Blythe). Because of its remote location. along the All American Canal is Tamarisk LTVA. Take highway 95 south to the four campgrounds. Ironwood trees. The camping area is open September 15 through April 15. off-highway vehicle riding and scenic driving. Nearly all of the LTVA is situated on flattened desert pavements. The campground entrances are approximately two miles south of town. water station (eight faucets). The campground is approximately 11. sparsely vegetated with plants such as Creosote bushes. California. hiking or backpacking. To get to it. primitive camping and trash collection.400 acres in size. Services available are a trash facility and camp hosts. solitude. ••• For more information on camping on BLM lands including Long Term Visitor Areas. contact these Bureau of Land Management offices. rockhounding. Mesquite trees and various species of cacti. consisting of alluvium derived from the Big Maria Mountains. Midland LTVA The Midland Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) is located on the northern edge of the Palo Verde Mesa. hiking opportunities. eight miles north of Blythe. some paved / improved roads. watchable wildlife. Site elevations range from 600 feet on the northern boundary to 490 feet along the southern boundary. dump station with water. exhibits.agates and nodules. Since only minimum camping facilities are available. Facilities include dump station. AZ 85365-2240 (520) 317-3200 Page 62 . flat landscape. exit Interstate 10 at the city of Quartzite. security and nearby Quartzsite and its huge flea markets and gem shows. dance floor and ramada. Facilities include 10 vault toilets (handicap accessible). CA 92243 (760) 337-4400 BLM Yuma Field Office 22555 East Gila Ridge Road Yuma. Tamarisk LTVA is quiet and peaceful.
There is a one-time charge of $10. Camping fees vary from as low as $5 a night for a primitive space (no hookups and perhaps not even water or toilets) at a government campground to $35 and up at private ones. The price of a campsite is typically between the cost the ones we mentioned above and local private RV parks. the closer these RV parks are to major cities or tourist attractions. County parks sometimes include campgrounds. The most familiar name in private campgrounds is KOA.Dispersed Recreation Camping Camping on public lands away from developed recreation facilities is referred to as “dispersed camping. These campgrounds are often secluded and out of the way.S. as long as such use does not conflict with other authorized uses or occurs in areas posted “closed to camping. Private campgrounds come in all shapes and sizes. although electric and water are often available. these freebies usually come with a price. It provides free entrance to most federal recreation areas and provides a 50% discount on use fees. with spacious sites. and usually in scenic locations.” or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or natural resources. they can be a wonderful choice.S. There are plenty. Every state in the West has state parks. Free dispersed camping is allowed on Public Lands in Arizona for no more than a period of 14 days within any period of 28 consecutive days. or half of that with a Golden Age Passport. campers must not dispose of any refuse. Few of these campgrounds offer full hookups. campers must not leave any personal property unattended for more than 10 days. “Pay” Campgrounds: What do they cost? While finding free campgrounds gets harder every year. the higher the camping fee. Camping fees range from nearly free to $15 to $20 a night. Many government campgrounds are free. but the pass is good for life. Buy a copy of Woodalls or Trailer Life’s annual campgrounds directories and you will find thousands of listings. or gray water. Page 63 . The 14 day limit may be reached either through a number of separate visits or through 14 days of continuous overnight occupation during the 28-day period. Generally. Those in the middle of nowhere will do very little damage to your pocketbook — sometimes offering full hookups for $15 or less. citizens or permanent residents who are age 62 or older. hazardous materials. Fees range from about $5 to $15 a night. the camper must move outside of a 25-mile radius of the previous location until the 29th day since the initial occupation. such as camping fees. short for Kampgrounds of America. For campers who seek an experience with nature. The campgrounds are generally very clean. In addition. The purpose of this special rule is to prevent damage to sensitive resources caused by continual use of any particular areas. however. which is available to U. in any manner pollute the surrounding area. `To further protect public lands. Expect to pay $10 to $20 a night.” Most of the public lands in Arizona are open to dispersed camping. sewage. Forest Service (USFS) have literally thousands of campgrounds. however: a long drive to reach them. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U. finding pay campgrounds does not. The least expensive campgrounds are those provided by the federal government. The 28-day period begins when a camper initially occupies a specific location on public lands. After the 14th day of occupation.
Campers who plan to stay more than a few nights a year at a KOA should purchase a KOA Value Kard for $12. Each paragraph below is from a different person. which entitles the card holder to a 10% discount on daily registration fees as well as a free KOA Directory and Atlas. Overnighting at Wal-Mart Many Wal-Mart stores now have “No Overnight RV Parking” signs. but sometimes more and (infrequently) a few dollars less. buying a membership can make economic sense. but the common denominator is that they are easy to find. Each organization has parks (or “preserves”) scattered around the country. KOA has benefited hugely from the inconsistent quality of these parks.thousandtrails. We were also told of other Wal-Marts with signs.com. We offer these comments as food for thought about the subject of free camping. with spacious campsites and clean bathrooms.com. Others are an embarrassment to the industry. we asked our readers “How many times in 1999 did you stay overnight at Wal-Mart?” Of the 227 respondents. Some are in scenic locations and squeaky clean. Often what they find is far from what they expected. After buying a membership (usually not cheap). east Tucson and Casa Grande. For RVers who travel a lot. Other private RV parks are mostly mom and pop operations and the quality is not consistent. Box 31734. Hundreds of KOAs these days even offer Internet kiosks. members can stay at some or all the campgrounds for free or nearly free. MT 59107. laundry room and clean restrooms with excellent showers. KOAs vary in what they offer. Membership campgrounds Thousand Trails and Coast to Coast are the biggest names in membership campgrounds. EDITOR’S NOTE: In a survey on FreeCampgrounds. not saving money. telephones. Visit http://www. We suspect that in the few years since our survey that a higher percentage of RVers have stayed at least one night in a Wal-Mart due to increased publicity of the Page 64 . most very nice places.O. and in Oregon in Newport.More than 500 KOAs are located in all parts of the USA and Canada. An overnight stay costs from about $20 to $40 on average. the big advantage is the quality of the campgrounds. and are a reason that some RVers are hesitant to drive very far out of their way to an unknown RV park based on its listing in a directory. with 23% staying three or more times. Some stores with “No overnight parking” signs: In Arizona. Comments about free camping from the readers of FreeCampgrounds. one-third had stayed at least one night. But for casual travelers. The cards can be purchased at any KOA or by mail from KOA Value Card.com Here are some relevant comments and suggestions we’ve received about camping in “unofficial” campgrounds from the readers of FreeCampgrounds. Be sure to circle the lot and check ALL parking lot entrances. Most comments have been edited for space. P. Billings. tidy. with a store.com to learn more.
practice. I called the corporate offices of Wal-Mart in Arkansas and asked what its overnight RV parking policy was. They were very friendly and said it was company policy to allow RVers overnight parking. They also said it would be advisable to check in with the store manager when you arrive as a courtesy. However, they said if we ran into a store that refused us we were to report this to them. We have stayed in a number of Wal-Marts and have been welcomed with open arms. Management even alerts security to keep and eye on the rigs during a stay. If you have a wife like mine (Wal-Mart road atlas in hand) she always needs something from the store. If we stay in a Super Wal-Mart we always hit the deli for a good chicken dinner with potato salad and cole slaw. We drove the motorhome to the local Wal-Mart last night and got lucky and found a parking spot right by the door. After parking, but before getting out, the greeter rushed out and knocked on our door. He told me that I was very welcome to camp in their lot for the night, and he was ready to show me the designated area, where there were already several RVs. Just in case anyone wonders about Wal-Mart’s attitude toward RVers, this encounter should clear the air. Wal-Mart has figured out how to get an otherwise under-used asset (the far end of the parking lot) to produce revenue by encouraging RVers to park. They know that we’ll almost always run into the store for some goodies. Smart, very smart. I have spent several nights in Wal-Mart parking lots. We usually park then go inside and pick up then odds and ends you always seem to need. We usually stick to the “Super” Wal-Marts as they are 24-hour stores. Others I know do the same and none of us has had any problems. I spoke to a trucker who drives for Wal-Mart who told me that he likes seeing RVs when he arrives because he feels he is not all alone on the lot while he waits for his delivery time. Last year we traveled from the West Coast to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. We found that Wal-Marts were happy to have us stop there overnight. There were very few times we didn’t buy something. An inventive traveler can find places to stop without a fee — school yards, gasoline stations, rest stops, club members yards, etc. We have stayed at numerous Wal-Marts and have only had one tell us we couldn’t, in Vancouver, BC. But they called around to the other area Wal-Marts to find one nearby where we could stay. It was in Surrey. We have never had a problem with any of the Wal-Marts. We always check first and make sure we do our shopping there, too. We always take out the garbage bags and walk around our area picking up trash and then taking it to a dumpster. On a 30-day trip though 12 states, we spent 10 nights on Wal-Mart and Big Kmart parking lots and felt welcome everywhere except in Florida, where we were told that campers used the parking lots like a real campground. We ate and shopped in every store, with pleasure. A Wal-Mart or similar retail parking lot does not provide a “campsite.” It is still a parking lot where, with the retailers approval, an RVer can get a few hours sleep. It also provides an opportunity to do some restocking and other shopping. For example, we came through a Texas town recently that had a free campground. But we bypassed it to go on to a Wal-Mart a mile away. We didn’t want to “camp.” We wanted to do a little shopping and get some sleep. It was just easier to do our shopping and then get some sleep where we were rather than doubling back to the free campground, or, for
that matter, going on to a commercial park. We didn’t need swimming pool, showers or any other amenities that come with the fee or the extra time it takes to get checked in. So, it’s not always a matter of dollars. As in this case, sometimes it’s just more convenient. Flying J Truck Stops It is a well known fact that Flying J Truck Stops are RV-friendly. But if you use the truck stops to stay overnight, by all means fill your tank, get propane, eat a meal or buy something in the convenience store. Please don’t abuse this good thing or it will be taken away from us. I recently completed a 12,000-mile trip in my motorhome, which started out in Canton, New York and took me all the way to San Diego. I always tried to arrange my stops at the Flying Js. Their gas prices were always better than anyone else’s and they will even give you a discount card (not much, just one cent a gallon). I also filled up my LP tanks there. Most of them had a separate area for overnight RV parking, away from the semi trucks. It was always a pleasure stopping there. I have stayed at a Flying J once, but have attempted to stay many times. I’ve found arriving late pretty much guarantees you won’t be staying there. They fill up in front. Other Truck Stops We have been on the road for three years now and have not spent one night in a Wal-Mart. When we travel cross country we stop in truck stops and have not been turned down yet. We have a book called “Trucker’s Friend” (buy it at most Truck Stops and at Camping World) and they list all truck stops that welcome RVs. We usually get in the back of the parking lot and set up and have, from time to time, set up satellite dish. If you need to run a generator who will notice? The only problem is having a cattle carrier pull in and park next door. Keep a low profile and do business at the establishment where you are parking. We also use the “Trucker’s Friend” to locate restaurants that have table phones and we will have dinner and get our e-mail at the same time. Works great. Camping World stores Many Camping Worlds allow free overnight parking. But the one in San Marcus, Calif., just inland from Oceanside in Southern California, is completely fenced in and no overnight camping is allowed. We had to park in the Sam’s Club parking lot nearby — the Wal-Mart didn’t allow overnight parking there either. We travel in our motorhome about 7-8 months a year. Camping World is a good overnight spot. Like Wal-Mart, they figure you’ll buy something. I contacted the company’s headquarters and was told that some stores do let you stay overnight, but to check with each store. Cracker Barrel You can stay a night in most Cracker Barrel restaurants(even the official company policy is “No overnight stays”). As with Wal-Marts, you should ask first, but generally they don’t turn you down if you arrive just before closing. Good breakfasts too! Kmart, factory outlet stores & shopping centers Kmart allows overnight parking. As a matter of fact, they were the first to provide the overnight camping opportunity.
I normally ask the Kmart store manager if he minds if I spend the night. I have never been turned down. Most will tell me they will let their security staff know so they can keep an eye on my rig during the night. I always park off the beaten path and never leave any trash. If it’s a Super Center, then my dinner will be its fried chicken, potato salad and cole slaw. Yum, yum. Once we talked to the mall management at Grapevine Mills in Grapevine, Texas and asked if we could park in their lot since we were shopping, having dinner and seeing a movie. They said fine and even had the security guards watch out for us. The next day the guard came by and asked us if we had a nice time.
Other camping areas
Highway rest areas EDITOR’S NOTE: We recently polled the readers of FreeCampgrounds.com, asking them “How often do you stay the night at a highway rest stop?” Of the 334 respondents, 13% reported they stayed often, 31% once in awhile, 19% hardly ever, and 37% never. We have stayed in rest areas many times, but only ones that list that overnight parking is okay. We have never had a problem. We also look for other RVers and park as near to them as we can. We seldom stay more than 8 to 12 hours. Situation awareness is the key to survival. The highway rest area ranks right up there with a watering hole in the middle of the desert. Stake it out and sooner or later lunch will show up. There is no good reason that RVers should get themselves in a position to have to visit, let alone stay in a rest area at night. The April 26, 2000 issue of Good Sam’s magazine has an article on full timing it, with a section devoted to RVers and guns. The author guesses that approximately 50% of RVers have a shotgun or pistol on board. None the less, stay away from the watering hole. Some free (or very cheap campgrounds) happen to be at Elks Club Lodges. Many of them have RV hookups at either free, or very cheap rates. Most all have nice restaurants and lounges along with other activities (music, dancing, etc.). These benefits are for Elks Club members only, however, once a member, you can use the facilities all over the country, and the Elks are a very civic-minded organization and contribute to many worthwhile activities. I’ve never run across any Elks Lodges where camping is free. Most have increased their prices over the prices listed in the books or they ask for a donation. The campgrounds are a large money raiser for the lodges. Some of the members work very hard building and maintaining the camp spots. Miscellaneous Flying J and Union 76 Truck Stops publish flyers that list what they offer RVers — propane, dump station, etc., and encourage them to spend the night. I have made it a habit that if I spend the night I spend money at the business. I always need fuel. And if not fuel, I get a meal. More and more truck service centers realize that RVers mean money and that offering the RVer the same service as truckers increases their bottom line.
I saw an article in a Thousand Trail’s magazine about free camping at Union 76 Truck Stops. etc. Kmart. It’s safer because you lesson the chance of a big truck backing into you in the middle of the night. There are a lot of new drivers out there in big rigs now that have a hard time parking when rested. etc. Remember that this is their property. • Park as far from the store entrance as possible. believe me. As obvious as the following suggestions may seem. Their corporate offices sent me literature. I wrote them and they sent me a brochure listing all their truck stops. The brochure stated very plainly that RVers were welcome to spend the night.. what they offered the RVer. eats. so we are not anti-RV campgrounds. We also patronize private RV parks about every third day when traveling. One should always keep in mind that these areas are not “campgrounds. from the store and save any receipts until after leaving. • Buy any needed supplies. We would like to offer a few rules we think RVers should keep in mind when using non-traditional camping areas. some RVers just don’t take time to think or else they are just plain dumb. The same welcome mat is offered by Flying J and AmBest Truck Stops. I believe it is the right thing to do and they know that by tapping into the ever-growing RV market there is money to be made by offering them a free place to stay. (The store must pay for this service) • Do not play loud music or TV. use the front parking lot where the cars are. • Do not make any connections to storm drains or electrical boxes that might be present. and more convenient. safer. not yours. • Never dump any holding tank contents on or near the stores premises. • Do not litter or use the stores trash bins for garbage or regular trash. Drive the ENTIRE area to be sure. • If possible. and several shopping malls. even if asked to leave. always buying fuel or a meal for being allowed to stay in their property. When parking overnight in a truck stop with an RV. keep the generator side of the RV from facing the store front or facing a nearby home. • Do not park for more than 12 hours unless you have asked to stay longer. • Do not extend awnings or set out patio chairs. each with a map of their truck stops and what they offer the RVer. • Do not block drive lanes surrounding parking sections. We feel it is best to express gratitude to the store when you are ready to leave. • Do not park if “No Overnight Parking” signs are posted. Page 68 . dump station. and a terrible time parking in the middle of the night. It’s quieter. like propane. Flying J.” Always be polite and courteous. A veteran RVer suggests 12 rules for free campers We have spent many a free overnight stay and have never had a bad experience at a Walmart. • Do not use the store’s restroom facilities when yours is available. During my travels I have stayed at Union 76s along the way.
SuperCenter on US 231 South. No parking in other public places.html Alabama Anchorage Dothan (W. but guard will tell you to leave) Jasper (Stopped allowing overnight stays because of vandalism and liability concerns) Troy (signed posted) Arizona Apache Junction Avondale (Store #2554. do not allow overnight parking. 2003.). City ordinance. because of a local ordinance that prohibits such stays. the readers of FreeCampgrounds. Some RVers carry the atlas with them and use it to plot overnight stops. Or if you have stayed very recently at a store that IS on-this list. more often. Many Wal-Marts that do not allow overnight stays are not yet noted here. City regulation) Bullhead City (camp for free in a casino parking lot across river in Laughlin. etc. please let us know. Please keep in mind that this list is growing by the week and is the best information we have available as of May. Hundreds of RVs nightly) Casa Grande (No parking anywhere in city limits except in campgrounds) Chandler (City ordinance) Flagstaff (No overnight parking or Wal-Mart or any city shopping center) Glendale (no parking in any parking lot in the city) Kingman (RVer was kicked out at 3 a. Some may have changed their policies since we posted them here. http://www. but must be gone by 9 a. but does. too) Show Low (signs posted) Sierra Vista Page 69 . This list is best used in combination with the Wal-Mart edition of the-Rand McNally Road Atlas. about a mile South Of Ross Clark) Foley Fort Payne (Signs posted) Gadsden (No signs posted.Wal-Mart stores that do NOT allow overnight RV parking Most Wal-Mart stores — perhaps nine out of ten — graciously allow RVers to stay the night in their parking lots.M. Nev.com/noparking. Using this list in combination with the atlas will prevent drives to stores where overnight parking is not permitted.m. The following stores.com report. plus its street address. Southern) Phoenix (store at/near Dysart Rd) Prescott Scottsdale (signed posted in March. allow overnight stays. Just west of Phoenix. sold at Wal-Mart stores for about $5. would you please email us with the location. Many RVers have stayed next door at Albertsons) Lake Havasu City (no parking anywhere in town but RV parks. If you know the address of the store you’re writing about (or even just the name of the street or its general geographical location within its city — north.freecampgrounds. The atlas lists every Wal-Mart store in America and Canada.m. We offer an updated list (available instantly for printing) on our website for $3. not just the West) that bans overnight stays that is not on this list. One night stay only. 2002. This may be the decision of the store’s management or. If you know of a Wal-Mart (anywhere in the USA. please provide that information. south. in fact. by police. You could get a stiff fine if you stay at Wal-Mart) Mesa (6131 E.
Signs posted in April 2002) Fort Collins (store on north end of town does’t allow stays. RVers have been observed staying. Signs posted) Huntington Beach (new store. — Foothills Mall Location) Tucson (7100 E.m. but the security guard will bang on your door at night to kick you out) Windsor Colorado Brighton Colorado Springs (at Platte & Chelton.Tempe (okay.m. No parking due to city ordinance) La Quinta (police may show up at 3 a. store. ’02) Union City (some RVers have stayed. Speedway at Kolb Rd) Yuma (Cops will chase you out) Arkansas Arkadelphia (Overnighting okay. to kick you out) Livermore (We have conflicting reports on this store. Local ordinance) Rohnert Park (we have received conflicting reports on this store’s policy) Salinas San Clemente (no overnight parking anywhere in the city) San Diego (Murphy Canyon Store #2177) (Also stores at 3412 College Ave. Leave early) San Leandro (on the Davis Street Exit from I-880) Santa Clarita/Valencia (one RVer woke up to a warning ticket on his windshield) Santa Maria (RVers are told to leave. RVers stay there) Vallejo (ask the greeter about staying in an old truck parking lot a few blocks away) Vista (University Dr. What is your experience here?) Valencia/Santa Clarita (try the Camping World 100 yards away..) Santee (don’t try to boondock anywhere in town) Suisun (signs posted as of June. but RVers have been seen staying anyway.. Signs posted and enforced) Fairfield (at 300 Chadbourne Road) Folsom (on East Bidwell.) Modesto (signs posted) Mountain View (Showers Drive store. 2001. Oceanside (both stores in town ban overnight stays) Oxnard (RVers who try to stay are asked to leave) Pleasanton (local ordinance) Poway (San Diego area. Signs posted) Russellville (Flying J Travel Center is not far away where stays are reportedly okay) California Anaheim Arroyo Grande (Signs posted) Cathedral City (City ordinace bans stays. Arrive after 8 p.) Tucson (Super Center at 7635 N La Cholla Blvd. but must be gone by 6 a. Manager may say it’s okay.) Corona (on Ontario Street.m. ’02) Tustin Ukiah (signed posted in Aug. and 6336 College Grove Way) San Dimas (off I-210. south store does) Page 70 . Dec. city ordinance) Covina Crescent City El Cajon (store on Los Coches Road. One RVer received a citation for “staying all day” after staying only two hours while shopping in the store). and a stay may be okay. but watch for height barriers to prevent big rig truck entry) Fayetteville (signs posted) Hot Springs (Store on Central Ave.
Myers (store just south of airport on 41S has no parking signs Haines City (a local resident reported in June. 27 between Sebring and Avon Park) Silver Springs (city ordinance) St Cloud (city ordinance) St. Dora (signs posted) Naples (there are two stores here. Security guard will ask you to move. ’02 that RVers have been staying anyway) Homestead (RVers have been kicked out. Dale Mabry Hwy Store at 7011 Waters Ave West Page 71 . Hwy.The store off Highway 41 East bans stays. doesn’t want competition) Fruitland Park/Leesburg (signs posted) Ft. 1 South) St. Granada) Palm Coast Panama City Beach (no stays in any public parking lot. But some have been observed staying. City ordinance) Pinellas Park (local ordinance) Pompano Beach (police will give a ticket) Port Charlotte (RVs have been observed staying anyway) Port Orange (just off I-95) Port Richey (signs posted) Port St. Petersburg Starke Tampa: 3 stores: Store along I-275 at exits 23A & B at 1505 N. Hwy. 10 miles away) Southington Florida Bradenton (signs posted) Callaway Chipley (off Highway 77) Clearwater Daytona Beach (1101 Beville Rd. Try TA Truck Stop one mile south) Melbourne Merritt Island (on State Road 520) Mt. RVers have been staying) Marianna (store lot at old exit 21 off of I-10. We’re not sure about the other store) New Smyrna Beach (just off I-95) Ocala (City ordinance. City ordinance) Lakeland (just north of Interstate 4. anyway) Florida City (the city owns a campground. Hwy 129 at I-10. Augustine (2355 U. Lucie (signs posted) Punta Gorda (3811 Tamiami Trail) Sarasota (store on Cattleman Road) Sebring (On U. Applies to all Ocala stores) Oldsmar (see Tampa) Ormond Beach (1521 W.Frisco (city ordinance) Gunnison (signs posted) Wheatridge (suburb of Denver. So ask first to see if okay) Connecticut Avon (try the store in Torrington.S. Vine. Best to not stay) Jacksonville (on I-295 exit 13) Jupiter (Signs posted) Kissimmee (4444 W.S.) Destin (but RVers have been staying there. Many RVers have been staying.S. Land O Lakes (State Road 54 and US 41) Largo Leesburg/Fruitland Park (signs posted) Live Oak (U.
Some RVers report it’s okay. 50. others say it’s not.S. but an RVer who asked to say was told he couldn’t) Geneseo (signs posted) Mt. However. Signs posted say $250 fine for violation) LaVale Westminster Massachusetts Plymouth (City ordinance) Sturbridge (on Highway 20) Wareham (signs posted) Weymouth Page 72 .. The parking lot is too small.) Covington Farmerville (Signs posted) Jennings (parking lot blocked to RVs and big trucks)Maine Bangor (Conflicting reports. Now overnight stays are off-limits to all) Kentucky Berea (Store on I-75 at exit 87. we have been told (Jan. Vernon St Charles Iowa Ames (city ordinance) Davenport Decorah (city ordinance) Kansas Wellington (some idiot reportedly dumped his/her sewage.Oldsmar store at 3801 Tampa Road Titusville (city ordinance.) Ellsworth (city ordinance) Maryland Berlin/Ocean City (the store on U. the management claims) Lawrenceburg Louisianna Bunkie (Signs posted. 2001)) Dahlonega Perry Savanagh (at exit 94 of I95) Idaho Boise (at State Street and Glenwood) Illinois Bradley Elmhurst (no signs posted. 2002) that the store allows overnight stays if an RVer asks first) Venice Georgia Cartersville Commerce (No overnight parking signs were on order in mid Oct.
Louis area (if you stay. Hwy 100) Kirkwood .Michigan Auburn Hills Monroe Petoskey Sault Ste. You’ll get the boot) Brooklyn Center (city may kick you out) Eagan (Signs posted) Grove Heights Shakopee Mississippi Batesville Missouri Branson Chillicothe (signs posted) Eureka (no summers stays. 395 at McCarran exit. where stays are offered in a special lot for RVs) Elko (signs posted and warning tickets have been issued) Henderson (No overnight stays in RVs permitted anywhere in town but in a RV park) Las Vegas (we do not believe any of the Las Vegas stores allow overnight stays) Reno (Northtowne Lane store and store off U. Signs posted) Canandaigua Greece Page 73 . Marie (signs posted) Traverse City Minnesota Bloomington (and don’t try the Mall of America parking lot.” but RVers have been observed staying anyway) Portsmouth Seabrook (“No parking signs” posted. city ordinance) Tilton (“No parking signs” apply to trucks. Ask manager if you wish to stay in an RV. Store on North Reserve just off I-90 is allows stays) Nevada Carson City (Instead.Try the Peppermill casino or the Nugget casino in nearby Sparks) New Hampshire Gorham (“No parking signs. stay at the Nugget Casino. Louis Montana Missoula (Highway 93/Brooks Street store.S.Lindbergh Blvd and I-44 Eureka . you will likely get booted out by midnight) Town and Country .Manchester Rd (Mo.I-44 at Six Flags St. Probably ok) New Mexico Silver City (City ordinance) New York Amherst (suburb of Buffalo. but okay in winter off-season) Laurel O’Fallen (signs posted) St.
) Mentor (signs inside store say “No overnight parking”) Oklahoma Ada (signs posted) Claremore (signs posted) Shawnee (but okay to stay in a lot just east of the store) Oregon (most stores in state do not allow RV stays) Coos Bay/North Bend (try the casino north of Coos Bay. Pocono State College (Store at 1665 North Atherton Street. and kicked the RVer out) Collierville (area once used by overnighters has been blocked off. ’02.m. but ask manager and it may be okay) Indiana (signs posted) Mt. No RVs been staying as of Sept.Plattsburg Watkins Glen (Signs posted) North Carolina High Point Raleigh (off the east perimeter bypass) North Dakota Jamestown (Signs posted) Ohio Huber Heights Mason (the store on Tylersville Rd. Signed posted Tennessee Chattanooga (5764 Highway 153 location and the store at 2020 Gunbarrel Rd) Clarksville (Manager said it was okay to stay. RVers who tried to stay have been awoken and asked to leave) Hood River (But many RVers have been staying as of Oct. then security showed up at 11 p. So ask if you want to stay) Klamath Falls (Sign posted) La Grande Lincoln City (don’t try any freebie parking anywhere in town) Medford (Sign posted) Newport (Sign posted) Portland (4200 SE 82nd Avenue) Roseburg Talent (Signs posted) Woodburn Pennsylvania Ephrata (No parking signs posted. Signs posted) York (the store does not own the parking lot property)Rhode Island Warwick (store at Rhode Island Mall at Interstate 95 & 295)South Carolina Myrtle Beach (try the Big K just a few blocks away) North Myrtle Beach (signs posted) Surfside (south of Myrtle Beach). See our Oregon listings) Grants Pass (signs posted. ’02) Johnson City Kingsport (signed posted) Pulaski (a big sign says “No Overnight Parking”) Sevierville/Pigeon Forge (no parking anywhere in city except official campgrounds) Union City Page 74 .
“No Overnight Parking” posted) Virginia Beach (store near Sandbridge Road) Wytheville (off I-81. Police may knock to kick you out) Rock Springs (but a Flying J Truck Stop along I-80 just east of town allows free stays. City ordinance) Victoria (signs posted.) Help us identify other Wal-Marts that do not permit overnight RV parking. but RVers have been staying with no problems) Utah Logan (but you might be allowed to stay at the nearby Kmart. Don’t know for sure about store on west side) Lake Delton Waukesha (1/2 mile off I-94. No parking signs posted) Washington Kennewick (RVers have been observed staying anyway) Richland (signs posted) West Virginia Morgantown Ripley (signs posted. Tow away signs are posted) Leesburg (city ordinance) Lynchburg (Sam’s Club next door may let you stay) Luray (signs posted) Mechanicsville (store at 7430 Bell Creek Rd.com with the city where the store is located and its address (or general location within the town). about six miles south of Denton) Houston (at exit #780 on Interstate 10. Signs posted)Vermont Rutland (Signs say “3 hour parking” limit) Virginia Charlottesville (store on Hwy 29. But ask before staying Wisconsin Appleton (store on east side of town has signed posted. Ask first) Park City (signs posted) St George (sign posted. Page 75 . Try next door at the Kroger store. RVers have been reporting in June.. but ask and you might be able to stay) Vernal (City ordinance. 2002 that RVers have been staying at the Wal-Mart with no problems. Signs posted and enforced) Washington (city ordinance. No overnight parking signs are posted)Wyoming Casper (signs posted) Cheyenne (but RVers have been staying anyway. Nearby Sam’s Club said to be okay to stay) Also store at 10750 Westview Drive) Irving Sulphur Springs (Signs posted. Signs posted) West Jordan (On S. So ask if you want to stay to be sure.Texas Bedford (Fort Worth area) Brownfield Galveston (police will kick you out if you try to stay — city ordinance) Hickory Creek/Denton (Swisher Road. Bangerter Hwy. Email us at outwest@seanet.
you can probably assume overnight stays are allowed. •Don’t extend your RV’s slideouts unless absolutely necessary. Don’t use your generator unless you are parked in a far corner of the lot with nobody around including nearby residences.95 shipping for members. the more people who abuse these rules. The club has an information-packed member magazine where many of these locations are publicized.com. Free Camping Resources And other helpful information RV clubs & organizations The Escapees This is a national club of mostly full-time RVers. Family Motor Coaching Association This is the largest national motorhome owners-only association in America.95 plus $3. Others are simply passed along by word of month.” In other words. send one to the manager thanking him/her and noting that you purchased something while there (if you. •Obtain permission from a qualified person at the store that it’s okay to stay. •Carry a pack of post cards with you.95 plus $3. if there are already many RVs parked nearby each other in the parking lot.95 shipping for non-members) that lists every Wal-Mart.escapees. But other club members can “dry camp” $2. You’ll hurt the asphalt. •Limit your stay to one night. •Tell any RVer you observe violating these rules that you do not appreciate his or her behavior. and $16. The club publishes an annual road atlas ($9. •Do not set up awnings or pull out your barbecue or lawn chairs or do anything else outside your RV that suggests you are “camping. “blend in!” •Do not use hydraulic levelers. in fact. And pick up and dispose of any litter that is already there.50 a night at 18 Escapees RV parks. Make no noise. •Park in an out-of-the-way corner of the parking lot. Flying J Truck Stop and Cracker Barrel store in Page 76 . each member with his or her own space. •Don’t stay if your RV has a leak in a waste holding tank or is dripping any oil or other automotive fluid. After you leave the store after staying the night. only a place to stay a night while on the way to somewhere else or as a place to get some sleep when you are so tired that it would be dangerous to keep driving. You will often find other RVs already there. Support the RV accessories department. A one year membership to the Escapees is $60 ($70 the first year) by calling (888) 757-2582 or online at http://www. •Buy something from the store before leaving.Common sense rules about staying the night at Walmart •No pop up trailers or tents •Don’t stay if “No overnight parking” signs are posted. •Remember. The Escapees also have favorite “boondocking” sites around the country. the more stores will post “No overnight parking” signs. Never consider a Walmart a campground. where members hole up together for free for days or even weeks on end. •Never litter. However. Escapee members own co-op campgrounds in various areas. did).
com/links/location/walmart Kmart store locator http://www. A one-year membership to FMCA is $25. A big reason many members join is for the membership card itself.goodsamclub. many of which allow overnight stays by their members.com/Kmart.com Loves Truck Stop locations http://www.campingworld. Get more information by writing FMCA at 8291 Clough Pike. Cincinnati.FMCA. Elks and Moose Lodges These two groups have lodges all across America. Good Sam Club This is the world’s largest RV club. or online at http:// www. divorced or widowed RVers): http://www.savewealth.org. primarily in the exchange of information among members. Two we recommend are: • Loners On Wheels (single. http://www.stp. A one-year membership is $19 from http://www.com Page 77 .htm Camping World store locator http://www.lonersonwheels.desertdutch.flyingj.org Flying J Truck Stop locations: http://www. which is good for a 10% discount on camping fees at most RV parks.RVingwomen Helpful websites: Free Camping in Southern California http://www. The Elks publishes a comprehensive directory of nearly 200 lodges and their RV facilities.com • RVing Women: A club for women RVers: http://www. most with hookups.loves. Moose Lodges offer similar RV camping opportunities.koa. Using this as a reference while rolling down the road is a big help in locating RV-friendly overnight stops. KOA has locations in easy to find locations from coast to coast. Other clubs Other RV clubs can be of help in saving on camping fees. by calling (800) 543-3622. owned and operated by the same folks who bring us Trailer Life and Motorhome Magazines. OH 45244.com/stores/index.America.com/Locations/locations.html Wal-Mart store locator http://www.com.cfm KOA Kampgrounds When you pay to stay.
blm.html Bureau of Land Management (BLM) http://www.desertusa.wa.gov/fossc/maint/roadside/RestArea/RA_rules.yahoo.gov/hq/LandArch/restarea Washington state rest area rules http://www.com RV website links http://www.dot.gov Beginners Guide to RVing http://www.ca.com/clubs/boondocking Quartzsite USA Information about the West’s biggest boondocking area: http://www.com Guide to Free Campgrounds.RV-links.com Gypsy Journal Newspaper Lists free campgrounds in each issue http://www. For campers who really like to get out into the sticks. this book is a MUST! RVers Friend A directory of services for RVs at more than 6.S.com/Cities/az/quartzite.Boondocking Guide http://www.500 truck stops — now called Travel Centers — along interstates and busy highways.html California Roadside Rest Area rules http://www.agt.yahoo. etc.gypsyjournal.net/public/waters Free Campgrounds of the West Club http://clubs. Learn which ones permit free overnight stays.wsdot.com/clubs/freecampgroundsofthewest Boondocking Club at Yahoo: http://clubs.NewRVer. and do it for free.net Helpful Books Order these from your favorite bookstore or online at http://www. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. have dump Page 78 . Don Wright’s book lists thousands of free campgrounds in the U. Most are operated by the federal government — the U.S — all “official campgrounds” unlike some of those in this directory.RVbookstore.
Page 79 . http://www.html The Next Exit : USA Interstate Highway Exit Directory Lists every rest area along the Interstates all the major businesses at each exit including WalMart.stations and/or propane or offer Internet access. Out West.FreeCampgrounds.http://www.com/rversfriend. This serves as a great resource.RVtraveler. too.com. Updates of information in this book is at http://www.com/nextexit03.html THE END All content copyright 2003 by Chuck Woodbury.html Sign up for the free RV Traveler Receive our free email newsletter about RV travel in the USA and Canada. of where to buy diesel fuel. Kmart and Flying J.rvbookstore.newrver.com/3update. Sign up or read back issues at http://www.
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