To us, this is the definition of the term "boondocking".
But how do you find these great free campsites? Well, there are a lot of online resources available now. We've only recently discovered a great website and app called Ultimate Campgrounds and we think it's fantastic. And of course there are several websites that detail free camping spots online that other people have come across and listed. You can easily find these websites yourself using google. They can sometimes give you an idea or two, but the listings are often older and unfortunately not all of it is very accurate.
Sherman, enjoying the view at one of our free campsites in Arizona.
You need to use a variety of resources to find the best campsites, because there is no one single listing for all of the available spots. And we are glad there isn't because then we wouldn't have so much fun in finding the spots that we do. Some of the places we find aren't listed anywhere.
Another great resource is a series of e-books written by a fellow frugal RV'er...Marianne Edwards.
Marianne and her husband Randy have spent almost 15 years exploring the great Southwestern United States. And they've put together a series of six books written to guide you through the states that have the most free camping opportunities...Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and California.
Let's have a look at RV Boondocking in Arizona Book.
Marianne takes us on a mostly circular route of the state of Arizona, detailing all of the stops along the way. And not only does she talk about the boondocking locations that they personally stayed at, but she lists activities to do in the area. The book really is written with the unexperienced boondocker in mind, however there is a lot of relative information for seasoned veterans like ourselves!
Most listings include GPS coordinates that also link directly from the ebook to Google Maps enabling you to get a quick idea of exactly where she's talking about. Then, you can easily put those coordinates into your own GPS for guidance to the area.
We've just spent two months ourselves exploring Arizona this past winter, so we were pretty familiar with most of the areas in the guide. And, you have to remember that this is a guide to be used in conjunction with other resources. For example, there isn't a lot of info regarding the Flagstaff area, and yet we found a fantastic boondocking location very close by.
Sherman, boondocking just outside of Flagstaff.
We think it's a good thing that some places are kept a secret, just ready for you to stumble across on your own!
I was surprised to find that there are also some pay campgrounds listed in the guide. And this is probably a good idea since most people won't be willing to go without services all the time. And there is also a lot of information about what to do in the areas listed and how to do things inexpensively.
For example, one tip details how to avoid entry fees to a popular spot by doing a short hike to an unofficial entry spot that many local people use, however if you don't know about it you might miss it. We like tips like this!
The Arizona book is 146 pages of great free camping info.
The six different guidebooks are available here...
Marianne has offered to give away one of the guidebooks to one of our lucky readers! You'll get your choice of one guidebook, and she'll also send you her 23 page starter book for those of you who haven't experienced the joys of free camping...Basic Boondocking. A Frugal Shunpikers Guide.
So, we'll run this giveaway for a week. Make sure you visit the website links to get the extra entry points!