RV Boondocking: A List of Places to Stop
RV boondocking is one of the most fun ways to experience the country. When you free yourself from being chained to camping only at places with hookups, you can see the world from a whole new perspective. When you take a road trip in your Bowlus, the world is at your fingertips.
Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, South Dakota
When it comes to boondocking, there aren’t many states with more wide-open spaces to explore than South Dakota.
One of the best places to experience some of the most beautiful scenery that the country has to offer is Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. The Buffalo Gap National Grasslands is one of just 20 national grasslands in the United States. It is full of an amazing amount of animal and plant diversity and is completely free to boondock in if you don’t stay in one of the many onsite RV resorts or hotels. And why would you want to? You have everything you need already.
The Buffalo Gap National Grasslands are also a short drive from the Badlands National Park, which has an enormous number of outdoor activities to take part in. Called the “Land of Stone and Light,” the Badlands National Park is composed of 244,000 acres full of unique things to do.
If you want a little adventure, the Castle Trail hike is the longest in the park at ten miles long, leading hikers past some of the badlands formations. There’s also an open hike policy at the park, so you are more than welcome to wander off-trail as well.
And don’t forget to visit the town of Wall, South Dakota. Not only can you check out the National Grasslands Visitor Center for more information on things to do while visiting Buffalo Gap, but the town of Wall is also full of wonderful shops. Make sure that you don’t miss the town’s biggest attraction, Wall Street, which draws two million visitors a year.
When you boondock at the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, you can do as much or as little as you want. Because you’re not tied to electrical hookups, you’ll be able to spend time off-grid without worrying about losing power to your electrical outlets or appliances. In your Bowlus, you can even spend up to two weeks off-grid, thanks to the largest lithium-iron-phosphate batteries in the RV industry.
Clark Dry Lake at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California
Although the Anza Borrego Desert State Park is known for its rugged landscape, formed by hundreds of years of natural erosion, the area near Clark Dry Lake is an oasis. In the spring and summer, certain parts of the park are covered in beautiful wildflowers. This is also the best place to boondock because, although popular, Clark Dry Lake is large enough that you can camp without being overwhelmed by crowds. It’s also a great spot for first-time boondockers due to its accessibility.
When you visit the park, enjoy self-guided trails for both hiking and biking. Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail is one of the most popular, taking about two hours from start to finish. You’ll see plenty of the resident cacti, desert lavender, and desert willow, and wildlife like the Peninsular bighorn sheep and the California quail. The trail ends up at an oasis covered in native palm trees. You can also choose to hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans an impressive 2,650 miles from Canada to Mexico, crossing three different Western states.
After a long day of hiking in the California desert, you’ll want to be able to come back to a travel trailer that can provide you with comfort and privacy. Enjoy a home-cooked meal in your spacious kitchen and head to bed on a comfortable memory foam mattress. With real wood walls, designer drapes, and a temperature-regulated bedroom, you have all the comforts of a posh resort without giving up your personal space.
Twin Lakes View, Colorado
The stunning scenery of Twin Lakes View, located near the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado, has to be seen to be believed. Sitting at an elevation of 9,678 feet, this is one of the prettiest boondocking spots on the list. You’ll be able to watch the sunset and the sunrise from your luxury travel trailer, which occurs over sun-capped mountains, or stargaze through the skylights in your ceiling.
The Twin Lakes View is also close to the Willis Gulch Trailhead, a ten-mile moderate to strenuous hike in the San Isabel National Forest. The trail moves straight forward, leading to a high mountain lake after hiking through a dense canopied coniferous forest. It’s also great for trail running, although it can be busy during the more popular months.
Boondocking at Twin Lakes View is easy, as there are plenty of spots to be found. It’s quiet and serene, with panoramic views of multiple mountains and peaks. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in nature, spending as much time as you want without sharing your space with others. When you have your very own hotel-style en suite bathroom, with a separate shower with amenities, you’ll wonder why you ever traveled without a Bowlus.
Cook’s Chasm, Oregon
While Cook’s Chasm in Oregon isn’t the most wide-open place to boondock, it offers some of the most scenic views.
When you’re done taking in the views from your boondocking site, take a hike on the Cape Perpetua trail. This out and back hike is 6.5 miles long and is rated as moderate, and it takes you past some of the best that the Siuslaw National Forest has to offer. You’ll be able to see the Sprouting Horn ocean geyser, the Devil’s Churn, and Thor’s Well. Hike at high tide to see the ocean-based natural wonder at its finest.
When it comes to camping, the area for boondocking is a simple pull-out just on the side of the road. However, those areas also provide magical views as you fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the ocean. Turn off your music and sit in the living room of your travel trailer, just reading a book and enjoying the music that nature offers you. It’s the perfect, relaxing boondocking experience you always imagined, without having to share it with other campers in a crowded RV park.
Santee Coastal Reserve, South Carolina
While most boondocking opportunities are in the Midwest and on the West Coast, there are sites on the East Coast if you know where to look. Santee Coastal Reserve, in South Carolina, is one of those places and is worth visiting no matter where in the country you’re starting out from.
Santee Coastal Reserve is a 24,000-acre wilderness preserve located near Charleston, South Carolina. The boondocking potential is huge, with access to beaches and hiking trails. It’s in the middle of plenty of beautiful live oaks covered with moss, and camping there is free and as private as you want it to be.
Before heading back to your campsite, check out one of the hiking trails, like the Cape Trail, just under five miles through old rice fields, or the Marshland Trail, around two miles through a freshwater cypress swamp.
Whether you head out on a hike or take a dip in the ocean, you’ll want to relax in your spacious living room when you get back to your boondock site. You can wash the day off and head to bed clean, making it much easier to wake up and take on the day in a good mood.
When you boondock in your Bowlus, it doesn’t matter where you go. Wherever you end up, you’ll have a comfortable bed, the ability to take a hot shower and make a warm, home-cooked meal, and the freedom to camp outside of established RV campgrounds.
Whether you are on the East Coast, the West Coast, or anywhere in between, let your heart be your guide… without having to stay in a crowded campground and give up your privacy.