Harvest Hosts is a site that allows you to stay at cool places (vineyards, museums, farms, distilleries) for free after paying a small yearly membership fee. This is an inexpensive way to camp at AMAZING sites that aren’t available to the general public.
Stays are limited to one night, making Harvest Host locations THE BEST way to overnight while enroute to your destination. Harvest Hosts is only available to self contained vehicles (RVs and campervans). Tent, overlanding jeeps, and car camping aren’t allowed. This is my go-to site for camping on the road.
Pick Up An Expensive Paper Atlas
I’m not even joking. There are so many slivers of public land that don’t make the internet. When you want privacy, that’s a good thing. You might think it’s dumb to drop $35 on a paper map in the age of GPS and GoogleMaps, but this will save you!
Look for a map with 2-3 pages per state – you want one that REALLY gets in there. It should note public lands, free pull offs and scenic byways. There’s no point in linking, because a new one comes out each year, but I suggest getting two of the following:
- Rand McNally Road Atlas
- National Geographic’s Scenic Highways and Byways
- Road Carriers Atlas (if you have a tall RV)
- Michelin North America
For the famous national parks (and to find new ones), visit The National Park Service at www.nps.gov. Each park is different. So allow overnight camping, some don’t. Some are free. Some are ridiculously expensive. If you’re going to make a habit out of it, get a yearly membership. Don’t forget that national forests are 99.9999 free – likewise BLM land (Bureau of Land Management).
DON’T SLEEP ON WHAT YOUR STATE HAS TO OFFER! Every U.S. state and territory has at least one state park (free/paid). There are also state forests, wetlands, etc. For instance, in my home state we can camp on wildlife management areas for free with a permit.
This is an app (free and paid version) that shows campsites based on your needs. Dry camping, hookups, dog friendly, cost – these are all things you can toggle to filter your results.
Consider traveling with a group…
There are plenty of RV/Camping groups out there and there is one for you.
Simply type: your state+ camping club into Google and you’ll find something.
Bonus: replacing your state with: your type of vehicle, your special interest, how you identify, or your favorite hobby will help you find your travel crew.