Camping options in the United States are as varied as the paint jobs on our campervans. Our van camping tips can help you choose from several camping options when you decide to park it for the night. Most RV Parks, National & State Parks, and privately-owned campgrounds are well-documented and available for you to reserve online. Reserveamerica.com is one of the best sources to book these sites in advance. A couple of things to remember for all sites:
- You don’t need electrical hook-ups while booking a site for your Escape campervan unless you plan on using the heater or any of your own major appliance devices that require power.
- There is always somewhere to stay. Even in the peak periods of the busiest places, you will find a place to stay. The National and State Parks fill up early, but the privately-owned campgrounds surrounding the State Parks seem to always have something available.
Dispersed camping, pirate camping, boondocking, roughing it… whatever you call it, there are many great options for free camping in the US for any budget-minded traveler. We recommend reading our full Dispersed Camping 101 guide, but here are the basics.
Look in the Road Atlas supplied with each Escape campervan and you’ll see a light green shaded area within each state designating National Forests. It is legal to car-camp for FREE in these areas! With over 191,000,000 acres of National Forest land available, you’re bound to pass through several of them as you head into the many scenic regions on your adventure. Look for the brown and yellow (usually) signs announcing your entrance to a public land and consider yourself good to go.
Unlike the paid campsites at National, State, and RV Parks, free dispersed campsites offer none of the amenities you’d typically expect like toilets, showers, supply shops, etc. What you do get in lieu of amenities are very few neighbors, a canopy of stars, the wind in the trees, and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve finally made it off the beaten track.
Unless stated otherwise, it’s LEGAL to sleep in your vehicle within any federally designated lands. These include:
- National Forests
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
- Wildlife Management Areas (WMA)
- National Grasslands