Background RV jargon help:
- Boondocking is camping without hookups (connections to city electricity, water, and sewer), usually in a remote area outside of a city.
- Dry camping is the same deal, just usually in a more urban environment. Still no hookups, but I’d say that it covers anywhere with paved roads.
For the most part I use the terms interchangeably, but those definitions will at least let you know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, I usually do a quick search online before we get someplace to see where other people have overnighted and recommend. This has led us to some sweet spots, like our free site overlooking the east rim of the Grand Canyon.
But frequently I find people commenting that “The closest boondocking site to X is [somewhere].” That “somewhere” is at times five or ten miles away from the destination location, such as a national park or a city. Most of the time it’s a National Forest or BLM land, and is less frequently a rest area or something similar.
I’ve got news for you. Unless you’re in a Class A rig, try parking in the city nearby. We parked in small towns just outside of Zion (in Springdale) and Bryce Canyon National Parks (near Ruby’s Inn), and both parks are referenced online as having no boondocking sites very close by. The local police even confirmed that there weren’t even restrictions on parking in our site just 1/4 mile from Zion. Even in locations where there are clearly marked restrictions, most of the time you can find a friendly store owner with a large parking lot who would be happy to let you overnight.
We’re in Moab now and are shortly heading out to Grand Junction, Colorado, but for the last two nights we stayed right in town in the parking lot of a hotel. The hotel had wireless internet and a well-appointed air-conditioned lobby. Sure beats the outside-of-town boondocking sites that I found online. (Unless solitude is what you’re looking for. Saving 20 miles roundtrip driving (and gas) is more my speed.)
So anyway, the moral of the story is not to immediately reject big cities as places to overnight or even stay for a few days. Find an unobtrusive spot to park or ask a store owner for permission to overnight. I guarantee that you’ll find something pretty quickly.*
posted by yair
*Guarantee is not guaranteed.