Be sure to sign up for the weekly RV Travel Newsletter, published continuously every Saturday since 2001. Click here.
Huge RV parts & accessories store!
You have never seen so many RV parts and accessories in one place! And, Wow! Check out those low prices! Click to shop or browse!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Boondocking Locations Across North America

A couple of weeks ago the following comment was posted by an anonymous reader. “It seems to me that the term boondocking is foreign to those of us that live east of the Mississippi or maybe even east of the Rockies. I can't think of a place in the Midwest that would allow it if one could even be found.”  

Great comment! 

While I don’t have any personal experience boondocking in the Midwest or East Coast, there are resources available to find boondocking locations in these areas. With just a few key strokes on your computer, Easterners can be boondocking too!  Following are two boondocking web based user groups that share information with boondockers across the country. Discussions run the gauntlet from solar power to gray water, but the number one topic is where to boondock.  While the sites are not specific to a given region, there are sporadic posts boondocking in the Midwest and East Coast of the United States. Let’s take a look at the websites and snippets of a few recent posts that will be of interest to anyone looking to boondock east of the Rocky Mountains.

“Missouri Conservation Area is free.  The MCA is free to camp/boondock unless otherwise posted.  Usually there are NO facilities.

“Since the group is going active and some of you are planning to migrate north soon, I thought I would share a group of sites in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (new name) has what are called state fishing lakes. These are sites where camping, albeit very primitive, can occur for free. Many of the sites have lakes of about 200 acres. There will be pit toilets. No potable water. But they are free to camp in up to 14 days. They are out of the way and you need to really search the web to find references to them.
I think other states, Oklahoma and Nebraska have them also, I think they were originally purchased under terms of some federal law that helped pay for the purchase which required free camping. Most states do not like to publicize the sites because they take away from the state parks that generate revenues.

I have camped in the back of my truck at several of the sites and visited others. I consider these sites gems, somewhat primitive gems, in Kansas. Good luck.”

"We spent last winter in south Florida boondocking, a feat that I didn't think could happen.

For starters, we were in the Cypress Preserve on the north edge of the Everglades along highway 41. The campgrounds were free until the middle to the end of December.

We then went to the Everglades (our first) for a couple of weeks and paid the NP service fee. As we moved north, we heard a comment about the "Florida Water Management Districts". It turns out that the
districts are the Florida version of BLM ground almost. Florida is buying back acres and acres of drained swamp and returning it to swamp. (The swamp feeds the aquifer that Miami gets its water from.) In the
meantime, they have permitted boondocking camping in some areas. We've listened to some old timers and one very important item is: "You have got to hang loose, as they change the rules every few years." So what
was true yesterday may be gone or moved today.

Everyplace we went had a port-a-potti for use.

When you search online "water management districts", just be aware that a primitive campsite is often for walk in hikers. It was an interesting game we played.”

“Boondocking in Florida: Meadow Lake, north of Greenfield has two locations for maybe one or two rigs at opposite ends of the dam. No services or facilities, other than an old fire pit.”

“We're now boondocking at Hickory Run SP in White Haven, Penn. BEAUTIFUL area!
Trout streams, waterfalls, mountains, bears & a great place called Boulder Field. A natural field of boulders caused by glaciers. TOO cool! Acres of nothing but boulders!”

Florida, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Pennsylvania! As you can see there are places to boondock in the Midwest & East Coast and all I had to do was a little surfing on my computer to locate them. Now if you are really brazen and I know this is tough for the guys out there, but if you don’t find a boondocking site to your liking or the area you are traveling, you can always ASK! I have posted on these websites numerous times looking for a convenient place to boondock and the majority of the time someone has answered with a location. Conversely I have supplied boondocking locations to others that have requested them. However, don’t expect a fellow boondocker to surrender the location of their favorite boondocking site. Some things are just too good to share.

If anyone else has “secrets” to share on how to locate Midwest and East Coast boondocking locations, please share.


  1. I used to belong to both of those Yahoo Groups and nobody wants to share information. Everyone asks, where can I boondock near a certain city or town, and nobody will tell because they don't want to give up their secret places. Total waste of time.

  2. Too bad you had a negative experience with the sites mentioned. When I last requested information (last fall) on convenient over night stops along I-5 between Sacramento and Portland I was provided with two suitable locations. Paying it forward I also provided a list of sites in the Mojave Desert.

  3. We have found a site that provides short term boondocking while traveling. Some of you might be interested in joining this group. It is free for the moment. It was started by Marianne who provides all kinds of info, helpful tips and advice on RVing frugally. Her site is

  4. Further to "Anonymous' " comment above ... the site is: BOONDOCKERS WELCOME located at
    It currently has 620 members around North America. The first group of members are charter members and don't pay. New members now have to pay a modest yearly fee. I have stayed at a number of members locations and it is well worth the price. You can visit the site for more details and to join.

  5. charter member