One thing many new fulltimers and extended time RV travelers are surprised to discover is that they do not have to stay in an RV park every night. There are many alternatives to a traditional campground, and a lot of them are free, or almost free. Or at least a lot less expensive than a campground.
Over the years we have spent many nights in casino parking lots, small town parks (many have RV hookups), fairgrounds, and boondocking at RV friendly business. Not to mention Elks and Moose lodges, and VFW posts. We sell several guides to free campgrounds, RV friendly casinos, fairgrounds with RV parks, and also a 7-in1 E-book with all of our money saving guides on them, which is available on a CD or e-mailed right to your computer. Both are available in our RV Bookstore.
Another option is driveway camping. That’s where you park in a friend or relative’s driveway. Sometime this includes an electrical outlet (usually 20 amps) and a handy water bib on the side of the garage you can hook your hose to, or sometimes you will find yourself dry camping. Either can be quite comfortable, as long as your hosts have a good relationship with their neighbors and they don’t object. (Not running your generator at night goes a long way to keeping peace with the neighbors.)
We have spent a lot of time driveway camping at a cousin’s house in Traverse City, Michigan, where we return every year for Miss Terry’s oncology checkup. We have received many, many invitations to stop at peoples’ homes and take advantage of their driveways over the years. Until a recent visit to Daryl and Cheri Lawrence’s place in the Yuma Foothills area, we’ve only done it twice that I can remember, partly because we are usually pretty busy and we don’t have the time to do more than pull in and sleep, and don’t want to be rude or seem unappreciative of their hospitality. The contrast between our two experiences were as different as day and night.
One was a delightful experience, when readers Al and Ann LeClair invited us to stop at their home in Salem, New Hampshire. We only planned to spend a couple of nights, but had so much fun that we ended up being there nearly two weeks! We hit it off with their neighbors, who were also their best friends, and the three couples sat up late many nights playing Mexican Train and telling jokes way into the wee hours of the morning. Their home is only about 30 miles from Boston and they took us into the big city to give us a guided tour one day, then showed us where the metro station was (a few miles from their home) and turned us loose to explore on our own. In fact, Al and Ann had reservations to take the grandkids to Disney World, and we were working getting an issue of the Gypsy Journal ready to go to press and planned to go to a nearby RV park. They wouldn’t hear of that, and gave us a key to their house, told us to treat it like our own, and left town. So when we were ready to leave, I held a yard sale, sold everything they had, and hit the road. 🙂
By contrast, our second driveway camping experience was a nightmare. A couple who were also vendors at a rally we were working invited us to stop in for a visit, and quickly did a Jekyll and Hyde transformation when we would not be lured into a couple of scams they were working. I’ve said goodbye to ex-wives with less reluctance than we bade those two adieu!
A while back, Marianne Edwards contacted me with a link to her new endeavor, an online community called Boondockers Welcome, where travelers can connect with other RVers who have a location to dry camp for the night, be it in their driveway or a field on their farm. Check it out and see if it might work for you.
So have you done any driveway camping? If so, what have your experiences been, good or bad?
Thought For The Day – Don’t put a period where God put a comma.