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Boon Docking

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Can anyone help me with some ideas on places to boon dock besides the Walmart's.

We are kind of new to the West and southwest as far as finding some good spots.

I would appreciate any help.

We enjoy nice scenic areas to do it at.

John

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In the SW there are lots of BLM sites available. Scenic? Do you like vast wastelands? Free sites are generally free because there is Government land or nobody would want to stay there for long (like Wal-Mart). By the way, what's wrong with Wal-Mart? Lots of casinos have free or very cheap parking, There are sites on the internet which offer free camping ideas so you might want to give Google a try. Depending upon where you are going, whether you want to just "be there" or whether you want to be where you can visit attractions will dictate where a good location to stay would be. What good is free if you have to travel 50 miles to the place you want to visit?

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Can anyone help me with some ideas on places to boon dock besides the Walmart's.

<snipped comment>

We enjoy nice scenic areas to do it at.

John

Perhaps a clearer idea of your definition of Boondocking would get you some helpful comments. I'm not certain if you are looking for free overnight stops or places to spend a few days without the hustle and bustle of some campgrounds.

I'm not sure, but I think you are asking about places to park without the luxury of hookups for a few days of peace and quiet at a reasonable cost. If that is the case, Bill's suggestions are great. I would also suggest looking at the National Park Service and any State Park websites as well as the Corps of Engineers to see what's available in the areas you plan to visit.

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Since you mention looking for alternates to Wal-Mart for boondocking, I assume you are looking for one night stands. In that case there are many other options. We have been full timers for ten years and have used a wide variety of locations for overnight stays. We have received permission to stay at Home Depot and Lowe's, sometimes on large grocery store lots, again with permission. We will park on business and commercial lots of vacant buildings if they are not posted. We have parked on gravel lots next to service stations, checking with the service station to be sure it is acceptable. We have used rest stops on interstate and other highways. We prefer the rest stops that are located some distance from a highway but have parked on lots which are adjacent to roads when they are not heavily used roads. We really don't like parking near trucks as many of them still leave their engines running all night long. Many Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops have designated RV parking and welcome overnight stays, even providing dump stations at some locations.

On a few occasions we have spent the night on a shopping center parking lot. One of the funniest was when we were in New Jersey. We got off the interstate to find a place to stop, couldn't find a place to park and ended up getting lost, no idea how to get back to the highway. After a close encounter with a low overpass I decided we would park the next open spot we found. It was well after dark so we pulled in next to a Bed Bath and Beyond for the night. The next morning the manager showed up and asked us to move as we were parked where employees parked. We fell into conversation about our motor home and our full timing lifestyle. He gave us good advice for local traffic conditions. He told us that after 6:30 a.m. the traffic across a certain bridge we were headed for would become completely stalled, stop and go, for about two hours. He gave us directions to get back to the interstate highway. I thanked him, we shook hands and parted friends.

When we boondock we try to arrive in the evening, after peak business hours, and we want to depart in the morning before business really gets going strong. There are two reasons for this. Arriving later in the evening means the parking lot will have more open spaces. Leaving early in the morning decreases the chances of getting parked in by a car parked too close to us. In doing this we are ensuring also that we minimize our impact on the business which has agreed to host us. We always check with businesses to be sure we are welcome and to find out where they prefer us to park. We are finding that Wal-Mart stores are more organized about RV parking and many have preferred locations for RV's to park. We always try to respect that. One we stopped at recently had no room on the lot but pointed us to a gravel area along an adjacent road where they said we could park.

We have found on occasion a city park which will allow overnight RV parking and a few charming ones that even had electrical hookups for a minimal fee. Some of these are even equipped for longer stays at very reasonable rates. We have seen beach areas and overlooks that allow overnight or even extended stays. If you dare, there are even some beaches were you can pull right out onto the beach and park. Our towing insurance won't pay for being pulled from those kind of locations so we steer clear of them. It could end being a very expensive place to stay! We got permission to stay overnight on the parking lot of the Battleship North Carolina when we arrived just before closing time and told them we wanted to take the tour in the morning. It was a great tour!

The later it is in the evening, the darker the night, the fiercer the storm, the better any parking place begins to look. The saying any port in a storm applies here. When things are really bad, people who wouldn't ordinarily allow you to park may graciously grant permission to park for a night. It can't hurt to ask. We stayed on the lot of a small shop one night. We pulled into the lot to turn around. They were closing the store so I asked the owner if we could park there, We filled most of their lot. The store owner said it would be fine if we were gone by opening time at 9:00 the next morning. We had a nice quiet night there and were gone by 7:30 a.m.

We've done much the same all across Canada. Even in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia which have a reputation of intolerance for boondocking.

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Story of boondocking and not meaning to.

We left home in the late afternoon. Got to Blackwell, OK. Saw two travel trailers parked in the Braums Parking lot (they were closed). Spent the night went in and had their wonderful Biscuits with Sausage Gravy and thanked them for allowing us to spend the night. They said no problem that was why they had the lot striped for RVs.

Went on into Cheyenne and spent three days in front of our kids house hooked up to their power. Left and went up to see Mount Rushmore. It was October and the only park opened had elec and sewer but had already drained their water lines. We said that would be OK if we could fill our tank. They said fine and I asked how much per night, we planed to stay two nights. He said,"would $10.00 a night be too much?" I handed him a twenty. When we left The Black Hill and headed East we went across S. D. and could not find a place that night. We ended up in a rest area and went to K.C. the next day. Parked that night at WalMart and spent the night with the wife's sister. The next day we went to Miami, OK to see the wife's mother and spent 2 nights hooked up to her power. Then back to Texas,

We traveled 4,400 miles and spent $20.00 for parking. Would love to take that trip again.

Herman

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Also, check your FMC magazine January issue.  In the back, there is a list of "Stoppin' Spots", which lists members who offer various services.  There is a family in Cheyenne, WY that is designated as "Come Visit" which means they would welcome an overnight stay from fellow members.

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I live in the North West of California and spent quite some time in the South of California. My tendency is to see it as an issue of travel mobility/flexibility and not one of RV locations, private or boon docking, though there are a few about and up north in the mountain areas. In the Santa Barbara area there are some RV parks near the ocean and apparently just South of SF as well.

The San Francisco, coastline, Napa/Yountville, Walnut Creek, Yosemite, and other areas are pretty built up now with lots of traffic, and much of what draws people here can make good use of mobility for access. And the areas are quite varied and change circumstances quickly. Many tourists take advantage of ample bus tours and various modes of transport.

However, I think the advantage goes to those travelers who would either rent a place for an extended stay in some of the sleepier areas like Solano County or have a highly mobile class B to quickly adjust to the changing circumstances. 

For example, a gorgeous trip along the coast on Hy1 is not, in my opinion, a good road for long RVs, but great for motorcycles, cars, and class Bs. 

If you have a truck with a camper for boon docking, you can get back into some great remote areas up north, but otherwise, well it all depends on your point of view and risk profile. 

For some RVing is a journey, but I'm more destination focused without limitation to what transport gets me there.

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Since my 2012 post I got my first iPhone.  There are a number of apps for the iPhone, I'm sure that android phones have the same.  AllStays has a number of apps including Walmart overnight parking and Camp & RV which includes Walmart and tons of campgrounds and stopping places, some free, some for a fee.  There are comments from users with many of these including the ONP Walmart which has advice on where they expect you to park.  AllStays also has an RV Dumps app.  AllStays Camp and RV has the widest variety of location assistance including truck stops, camping and outdoor stores, rest areas, turnouts, RV dealers, and you can filter the campgrounds based on categories like military, national park, public lands, state/provincial parks, KOA, Corps of Engineers, Elk Parking, etc.  The cost for the Camp and RV app is about $12, a one time fee and it updates on a regular basis.  You can even see where you are on a map and let it lead you to your intended destination.  Where we are located right now it shows several dozen sites of various kinds in a 30 mile radius on a map or you can search a list.

If you are traveling I-80, there is a nice rest area well off the highway west of Laramie, just past WY Hwy 13.  The rest area is on the south side of the highway but accessible from either direction on I-80.  There are also frequent truck parking areas along I-80 in Wyoming.  They are large, no facilities at all, but we've used them without any problems in the past.  We have stayed at rest areas in Nebraska but they are close to I-80 and pretty noisy from passing traffic.

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https://freecampsites.net/

Newbe on ya'lls site here but been around a bit and found the freecampsites.net to be pretty good spot for finding low cost and free with great reviews.  fmca:  f174797 Just went from my 91 Safari Serengitti to 2004 Monaco Dynasty and looking forward to getting back on Travel after my 96 yr old Father passed away. who I've been careing for for the last several years.  Hope to "See Ya Down the Road" 

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Sorry, back to the original post, places to Boon Dock?^_^  We found a new place on our recent trip, Cabala's.:)  They have an RV park at the home office in Sydney, NE that is a first come first served with no registration. However if full you are welcomed to dry camp on their property. We stayed in Lincoln, NE where in the back of the store was a well lit parking area marked for RVs and they even had a small corral that you could pin up any large animals you might be trailing somewhere. 

Other places we have spent the night (just one) have been, WalMart as you mentioned,:) Sam's,:) Highway Rest Areas:) and truck stops (not preferred, too noisy).

I have seen coaches in large outlet malls, but have never stayed in one yet. Too much of a chance for the DW to spend money.:wub:

Herman 

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