Boondocking Basics

Curious about boondocking? During a recent live chat with other RVers, a wealth of information was shared. Read on to find out more!

RVers discussing boondocking during weekly live chat

This is intended to be a living document. If you have information about boondocking that should be included on this post and you would like to share with the RV community, comment below or contact us!

What is boondocking?

Simply put, boondocking is a type of camping RVers refer to when they do not have any hook-ups (water, sewer, electric). Typically it is free, but there are instances where there is a fee.

Depending on where and how you boondock, you may hear fellow RVers use additional names, such as:

  • Dry camping
  • Wild camping
  • Lot docking
  • Wallydocking
  • Moochdocking
  • Urban camping
  • Stealth camping

Boondocking at undeveloped sites

Boondocking in the original sense, evokes an image of being out in a remote, isolated area (aka “the boonies”) and there are quite a few places to do this.

If you are looking at true boondocking experiences that are free, here are a few places you can access land for this type of experience:

  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) properties
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) properties
  • United States Forest Service (USFS) properties
  • Florida Water Management District properties

Camping at these locations are typically at undeveloped campsites (no amenities – open area designated for allowed camping).

Boondocking at developed sites

If you aren’t ready or looking for that type of experience and prefer to have a few resources close at hand such as picnic tables, fire rings, pit toilets and trash bins consider boondocking at developed campsites. These sites will sometimes cost a minimal fee, but much less than a traditional campsite. These type of sites are often found at:

  • State parks
  • County parks
  • National parks

Boondocking in urban areas

Here is where the terminology comes with a lot of nicknames (Wallydocking, lot docking, etc.). Most campers have at one time or another, for one reason or another needed to just stop and park their rig for the evening. Urban area ‘boondocking’ is typically just for an evening and not a campsite. Not only do you not have hook-ups, but you do not set out chairs, grills, etc. Places that RVers often boondock in urban areas are:

  • Walmarts link to info on their policy & acceptable locations
  • Cracker Barrels – link to great blogpost on this from RVBlogger
  • Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s (select locations)
  • Casinos (select locations)
  • Rest Stops (varies by state)
  • Harvest Host locations
  • Private residences (if ‘moochdocking’ – aka a friend’s driveway)
  • Churches (participating churches only through this site)
  • Truck stops (Flying J’s, Pilots, TA’s) link to blogpost from We’re the Russos

It is encouraged that if you plan on parking in a business parking lot or even rest area, make sure you touch base with a manager (get their name if possible) and get permission first. Certain locations of a particular chain may not allow overnight parking for various reasons. This can save you from either a ticket or that dreaded knock at the door at 3am.

How to find boondocking sites

The last several years have generated a wealth of information via apps and websites for finding all types of boondocking. Here are some resources that you may find useful:

Boondocking do’s and don’ts

  1. Give yourself and others space. Don’t park right next to someone else unless there is no other option.
  2. Leave no trace. Clean up after yourself.
  3. Keep the noise down. If you are camping in an urban area or a developed campground where you are in close proximity of other campers, the public, etc be mindful of running your generator during late/early hours.
  4. Secure your items. If you don’t feel safe, leave!

SPECIAL NOTE: This post was created by the information shared by viewers during one of our weekly livestreams and will be routinely updated as more information is gathered. If you have anything to add or see information that is incorrect/needs updating, please comment below!