www.rv-camping.org defines boondocking as remote location “dispersed camping”, and the term “dispersed camping” is defined as “camping outside developed campgrounds”. There is no official definition of the term boondocking however, but overnight RV parking places such as WalMart or truck stops, NASCAR races, federal and state campground, and any time RV hookups are not available (dry camping) have been referred to as boondocking.
Boondocking isn’t for everyone. Dispersed RV camping in remote areas requires research, exploration, and a sense of adventure to find those great campsites RV magazines like to show on their covers.
Boondocking Locations – Where You Can Camp
As a general rule, boondocking is allowed anywhere on federal public lands within 300 feet of any established road, except where otherwise restricted. That’s not to say that you can cut down trees or build a new access way into your RV campsite. The idea is to utilize previously used campsites, or areas that will not be damaged by your vehicle. The USFS offers free travel management maps called MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map) that show exactly where dispersed camping is restricted and which roads are open for travel. MVUM Information
A few US National Parks allow overnight RV parking and boondocking, but generally camping is restricted to established campgrounds. USFS (United States Forest Service) and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) high popularity areas often have restricted access camping areas. For example, the area around Mammoth Lakes, CA is extremely popular with tourists, and many areas allow camping only in designated campgrounds. Information about camping restrictions are available at USFS Ranger District and BLM Resource Area offices.
Generally speaking, you can stay 14 continuous days for free, but subsequent camping days must be 25 miles away. This rule applies to most BLM and USFS administered lands, but there are exceptions. For example, the INYO National Forest of California allows 42 day stays at designated camping areas, while the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming has areas that it allows only 3 day stays near Grand Teton National Park. BLM LTVAs (Long Term Visitor Areas) allow stays of several months for a nominal fee.
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