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Why pay big bucks for campgrounds if you can do that...

Traveling fulltime can get pretty pricey after a while. We always try to find other alternatives to save on the overnight stays, which frees up money on special treats and attractions.
We sat down with a consultant for 1000 Trails at the beginning of our cross country road trip. For an annual fee of $499 we could use their campgrounds for 14 days at a pop, leaving the system for 7 before going back to a 1000 Trail campground; or stay 4 days move to another location within their membership location and stay year round on their sites as long as we move every 4 days.
We looked at the map and what locations they offered and realized it didn't quite cover the midwest.
Maybe once we head back east we talk to a consultant again, but for now we are pretty happy with Army corps of engineers campgrounds and boondocking.
My go-to website has been recreation.gov.
I absolutely love it! Usually I plug in a destination and it will feed me all the surrounding campgrounds, monuments and parks. Usually ACOE campgrounds are located near a body of water. They offer water, electricity and a dump station. The prices range from $ 12-24 .
On our way from Florida we stayed at Gunter Hill, Montgomery AL overnight ($ 9) before making our way to Corinth lake, Bunkhead National Forest , AL. We stayed a few nights with full hookups for $20 20200709_124825.jpg 24319.jpeg
We had so much fun exploring the woods and the lake that I had to find our next destination on that website.
South Abutment campground in Mississippi was within our 3 hour driving limit and cost us $12 . This is a great spot if you want to tour Elvis's Graceland, only half an hour away from Memphis TN.
Next fabulous recreation.gov pick was in Clinton, Missouri. Originally we planned for a quick overnight stay, but enjoyed the beach so much that we extended for an additional 2 nights. 20200713_155910.jpg
I wasn't able to find anything in Nebraska along the route and payed for an RV resort that was located on the edge of a corn field. ED9B65E7048BED14B96274AB9850AD54.jpg ED9ACB46079945D87B922117D5436EE7.jpg 20200716_214529.jpg
After a little bit of research I stumbled upon the free camping app. Boy am I glad , this app literally changed our way of traveling. We knew that Mount Rushmore was our next destination and typed that into the search bar on the app. Several sites appeared with reviews, directions and photos. I was able to pick and choose what location meets our needs. We drive a 40 ft. Motor home with tow and can't fit in certain areas. Luckily I found an area outside of Custer, South Dakota in the National Forest. After a good 5 minutes on a dusty, winding dirt road we spotted some campers. We continued all the way up the mountain and found our spot for the next few days. EE0EF3EEBED8E336B11301FDBCBA6D58.jpg 20200721_190118.jpg
It was incredibly peaceful and still close enough to all the attractions.
The 4 day stay didn't cost us a penny and we were excited to find our next free camping spot.
Buffalo, Wyoming was even better. We found ourselves on a cow pasture overlooking snow capped mountains. Again 4 free nights. 20200724_143133.jpg 20200725_105100.jpg
Not only will the cows entertain you, a beautiful hiking trail leads to the river down below. 20200726_113340.jpg 20200726_114802.jpg
Next pick was a State Park in Columbus, Montana that is free, but accepts donations. Most sites are located along the Yellowstone River, offer fire pits and a water fill site. Don't forget to bring a tube, raft or your boat. Going down the rapids is a blast. 20200728_150313.jpg EEA79BB0E075040B9DAE32AD98ED29E3.jpg
During the pandemic most campgrounds in Yellowstone NP were closed and my free camping app came in handy again. This time we stayed several nights in Emigrant, Montana- about 20 minutes away from the park entrance. This place was getting a bit crowded towards the weekend, but totally worth it. 20200730_151756.jpg ...and it's located along the Yellowstone River. You can't beat it.
By now we boondocked more than half the time we have been on the road and really enjoy finding these remote places.
It sure is a very affordable way to travel !

Posted by Meike Carter 14:49

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