Camping fees aren’t getting any cheaper but thankfully the internet is loaded with free camping resources to lessen the blow of rising camping costs. If you’re like most RVers you love a good bargain, but as the popular saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Before you rely on free RV camping websites to plan your frugal RVing journey, consider this short list of the pros and cons of free RV camping.
The Cons of Free RV Camping
Free camping sounds like a great deal, but it has a few drawbacks. Let’s get those out of the way first.
Free camping spots in the United States are located on public lands. They’re often scenic and secluded, located off-the-beaten path where few people travel. Unfortunately, many of these prime camping spots just aren’t built for modern, larger RVs. A free and low cost camping guide published by the Escapees RV Club for its members describes one such campground as “Some sites OK for large rigs, but turnaround may be tight – scout first.” This is the general rule you should follow for almost all free RV campsites: first visit the destination without your rig. This ensures you can actually maneuver into and out of campground roads and parking spurs.
Free camping often means bare bones amenities, if you have any at all. In all but a few places, picnic tables, shelters and toilets are hard to come by. Water and RV dump stations are almost non-existent. You’ll probably also need to pack out your trash since many free campgrounds don’t have refuse removal services. Don’t expect your site to be perfectly level, either. Come prepared with all you need for comfort, like a ground cover and leveling blocks, or you may be disappointed.
You usually won’t find free RV campsites in premium locations with mild weather. Most are situated in rough terrain that’s subject to extreme seasonal temperature changes. The free camping in Arizona is a perfect example. You’ll love the mild winters if you visit in January. But camping in July includes consistent triple digit temperatures which can make summer camping uncomfortable.
The Pros of Free RV Camping
Now that you know the disadvantages of free RV camping, let’s discuss the these benefits of campground penny-pinching.
Rugged isolation and solitude
If you crave an occasional escape from civilization, you’ll usually find it in these freebie spots. Many are located away from popular, crowded attractions like national parks, boating lakes and coastal regions. Cellular service can be unreliable or even non-existent, which keeps most technology-addicted campers away so you’ll often have the place to yourself. When you take the road less traveled, you’ll be rewarded with fewer people and more of a true wilderness experience.
Less competition for campsites
Most RVers don’t want to work too hard for their campsites. They flock to the spots with easy access and conveniences like utility hookups. The majority of RVers also aren’t willing to sacrifice creature comforts when camping. Since most free RV campsites don’t offer these luxuries, your odds of finding a good spot increase exponentially, even on busy holiday weekends.
When you’re scouting reviews about free RV campsites, keep in mind that other RVers opinions are totally subjective. What one person thinks is paradise, another may interpret as hell on earth. There’s only way to find out the truth (and no, it’s not by doing a drone flyover). Get out and live the spirit of RV adventure. Just point your rig that way and find out for yourself.
About the Author:
Rene Agredano, a Coach-Net member since 2015, is a self-employed full-time RVer who enjoys writing, jewelry design and animal advocacy. Her adventures with a three-legged dog and husband Jim are chronicled at LiveWorkDream.com
Doreen T. ~ Well Coach-Net saves the day again. All I can say that we will be life-long members. The staff is wonderful and the service is top notch. They don’t rest until your problem is solved and ours was a challenge. Thank you Coach-Net!! We will pass on the accolades.”