Chapter 14: RV Boondocking Secrets
What is RV boondocking? It is simply camping in your recreational
vehicle in an area with limited or no facilities. In many areas
of the west, you can drive into the desert, and stay free for
up to two weeks. This is the case on most BLM (Bureau Of Land
Management) and national forest lands. How far you have to move
to stay another two weeks is open to interpretation, but probably
Long Term RV Boondocking on BLM Land
With the growing popularity of boondocking, the BLM has begun
to establish areas for longer stays, particularly in Arizona.
The permit fee is around $140 now, but this allows you to stay
up to six months, and you'll have pump stations, dumpsters and
water available. That's cheaper than paying property taxes or
rent for a lot to park on. You can find out more from the BLM's
Arizona web site at: http://www.blm.gov/az/
Ask around when you are in the desert southwest, and you'll
find there are whole RV communities that form every winter. There
are temporary towns like "Slab City" in California,
complete with bookstores, grocery vendors, and other businesses
run by RVers. When summer returns, these boondock communities
disappear, and reappear again the following winter.
Perhaps the largest gathering of RV boondockers is in Quartzite,
Arizona. Up to several hundred thousand people spend at least
part of the year boondocking here. Quartzite is near the California
border, on Interstate 10, only 20 miles from the Colorado River.
It's surrounded by BLM lands, and it's famous for gem shows and
swap meets, and the multiplying of its population each winter.
For more information, see the Quartzite Chamber of Commerce at:
Other RV Boondocking Opportunities
Look, and you'll find "hidden" places where you
can park your RV for a week or a month in the desert southwest.
Some are free, and others just inexpensive. The Hot Well Dunes
Recreation Area, north of Bowie, Arizona, costs $3 per night,
but has nice hot springs and plenty of wildlife. You can get
an annual permit for $30, but you're limited to two weeks per
month (permits are sold at the BLM office in Safford).
Outside of the fenced area you can stay free, but without
hot springs and shaded picnic tables.
There are many other areas like the Hot Well Dunes for cheap
or free RV boondocking. The Bureau of Land Management can tell
you what's available under their jurisdiction. The Woodall's
Campground Guide lists campgrounds that are free. Also, just
keep your eyes open for other RVs parked out in the desert or
forest, and ask around.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only
one page. - St. Augustine
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