We’ve logged just over 11,000 miles in our bus now. It’s been a heck of a ride, and one that we can’t wait to continue. When we first set out on our journey, we weren’t quite sure how to find campsites and places to stay in our bus. We’ve since found a wealth of online resources (and even one great offline option) for locating campsites during our travels. In addition to the few we’ve already discovered, we often hear about new sites from fellow travelers just about every time we connect with someone on the road. Here are a few of our favorite resources so far:
Oh, I get it! Like “compendium” but for campsites! This is my favorite website for finding campsite information. Not only is its user interface really easy to navigate, but it seems to have a really active community of members, so you can find detailed, first-hand reviews about potential campsites. You can filter your search results by type (i.e. free camping, city/county parks, state & national parks, private RV park, dump station, etc.) to find whatever sort of accommodation your looking for. Further, I really like that the profile feature enables you to discover fellow travelers’ blogs – allowing you to read more in-depth travel experiences. Oh, and did I mention this whole site is free to use in your browser?
Another camping staple, this is another free site where you can find a range of free, public, and private camping options. This site also includes information about hotel rooms, truck stops, RV dump stations, and free overnight parking at major chain stores (Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) It’s free to use this site in your browser (though their site interface isn’t quite as clean and easy to read as Campendium’s), and there are different paid versions of their mobile app to choose from depending on your type of travel. Though not our first go-to pick, we definitely use this site during our travels.
Ultimate Public Campgrounds Project
This is a great resource for finding public lands in the U.S. including land that is owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forest Service, and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as State, Municipal, County, & National Parks. We have a copy of their mobile app and use it to find free and low-cost campsites while traveling.
Just like its name implies, this site is a resource for finding free places to stay throughout the U.S. The campsite listings come from site-users, allowing you to see people’s reviews & learn about off-the-beaten path locations. That being said, we often use this site in conjunction with the ones listed above – meaning we’ll often check results against each other to verify accuracy. (Part of our efforts to avoid getting parking tickets and/or booted out in the middle of the night by a store’s security team.) With that in mind, we’ve found some great, convenient overnight stops by using this site!
Besides having a name that makes me chuckle, this site is a pretty great resource for finding places to fill your water tank and dump your holding tanks while on the road. Not every campsite out there has these amenities onsite, and knowing where your next water fill-up/ dump station will be can quickly become important.
National Geographic Road Atlas RV & Camping Edition
Remember that offline resource I mentioned above? This is it. Seriously. We get that not many people use printed road maps anymore, but guess what? Cell phone & wifi coverage isn’t universally available throughout the U.S. and having a back-up has definitely come in handy during our travels. We particularly like this map – not just because a friend gave it to us as a pre-departure gift – but because it depicts all of the state & national park campgrounds in every state. (It does also include private RV parks, but we figure the accuracy of private listings has a shorter shelf-life than state & federal-run parks.)
3 thoughts on “Finding Campsites & Places to Stay”
Great resources! Thanks 🙂
Too bad many listings on Freecampsites.com were walmarts and truckstops, even though they say they won’t post those often. Yeah right!! Kinda defeats the purpose of a source. In a pinch they work. But it’s not camping!!
I was feeling overwhelmed looking for free or affordable campsites where we could park our trailer on our trip to the Eastern U.S. Everything I had looked at was much more expensive than I was used to paying for a basic campsite. Thanks for sharing these great resources! My first search on Freecampsites.com yielded a gem and gave me all the info I need to book this free campsite.