Choosing camping spots along a route can be tricky at times. There are many factors involed. There may be a time frame involved, places of interest to visit, friends and/or family, and of course the costs. This section of our website is devoted to share how we do some of our planning.
First is to determine where you want to go. Maybe an East coast trip, visit family somewhere, South for the winter, or just somewhere new. Once this is decided, when will this happen? How long will you take to do the travelling? Are you in a hurry? The slower you move, the costs go down and the enjoyment increases. Remember the 2-2-2 rule.Two hundred miles, get there by 2 PM, stay at least 2 nights.
Make sure your timing is good. Will you be traveling in snow? during hurricane/torndao seasons? Will the tourist attraction be packed? The shoulder season is best to visit many National Parks and such. Make sure you have a place to park during the holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day).
To plan the driveing route, we use Microsoft's Streets & Trips software.
Once that the point A to point B route is planned, now where to stop, how far to drive, how long to stay. Much of that is determined by what we want to see and do in each area. But we choose the camping spots mainly by cost. We belong to Thousand Trails, RPI, Escapees, Elks, Good Sam, and Passport America. Free is almost always first choice.
What we are looking for along our driving route is our membership parks first. Then down the line.1. Thousand Trails - always free.
2. RPI - some really nice resorts, $10.00 plus maybe a couple of bucks in misc fees.
3. Boondocking - free parking at BLM/NF land, Casinos, Camping World, Fairgrounds (small fee sometimes).
4. Harvest Hosts - mostly free parking at private brewery, vineyard, museum, and the like (maybe make a purchase).
5. City or County Parks - free or donation box, we have found some really good ones.
6. Elks Lodges - $5.00-7.00 dry camping, maybe $20.00 for hookups.
7. COE - usally by water, good prices, can use senior pass for 1/2 off.
8. State Parks/NF Campgrounds - A little pricey, back to nature sites.
9. Escapees - Their parks are always nice, boondock there or FHU.
10. Passport America - sometimes this works out pretty well, 1/2 off.
11. Regular private CG - Always ask for discounts, GS, SKP, Vet, senior.
12. Blacktop boondocking - our least favorite, Walmart, Flying J/Pilot.
Then some research online.
I know where my membership parks are, so if looking into a new area, I use the following websites.freecampgrounds.com
Escapees Days End Directory
Word of mouth is great also. In the blogs I follow, I pay attention to the places our RV friends visit and keep notes.
Read about all the possible stops at RVparkreviews.com. Big rig access, Hookups, and mostly the reviews. You get a map and directions to the park along with their website.
As far as the route itself, I check our Trucker Atlas and/or our Mountain Directory to see what kind of road conditions will be ahead.And lastly, it all could change in a heartbeat. ... That's the RVer way. .... Jello! Links to:
Thousand Trails Parks
Parking at Elks Lodges
Passport America Parks
The Mountain Directories
The National Park Sysytem