Cheaper Camping? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-12-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
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Cheaper Camping?

I went camping in a scamp last weekend for the first time. Had a great time, however, was shocked at the prices of camp spots at the local camp grounds.

We were in a 13' scamp, not using any hookups. I basically wanted a tent site, not a full blown RV site. I couldn't get one. The first night, we paid around $50 for a spot near Napa. The next night, we packed up and drove a bit towards the coast to Olima, and got a spot there for $42.

That's more than some cheap motels, with bed linens, showers, and a TV!

Anyone camp away from the RV campgrounds and not pay the fees? How does that work, and how do you find spots where you can drop anchor for the night? I want to be out in nature more anyway, not listening to someone's generator and seeing their TV flicker through their window.

Please help! Camping in a tiny fiberglass trailer has to be cheaper than this!
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Shaymus View Post
I went camping in a scamp last weekend for the first time. Had a great time, however, was shocked at the prices of camp spots at the local camp grounds.

We were in a 13' scamp, not using any hookups. I basically wanted a tent site, not a full blown RV site. I couldn't get one. The first night, we paid around $50 for a spot near Napa. The next night, we packed up and drove a bit towards the coast to Olima, and got a spot there for $42.

That's more than some cheap motels, with bed linens, showers, and a TV!

Anyone camp away from the RV campgrounds and not pay the fees? How does that work, and how do you find spots where you can drop anchor for the night? I want to be out in nature more anyway, not listening to someone's generator and seeing their TV flicker through their window.

Please help! Camping in a tiny fiberglass trailer has to be cheaper than this!
There are lots of cheaper than that Corps of engineers will get you one with Golden age card from 2.bucks to around 12 or 4 to 24 without card NEVER STOP AT ONE ON A FREEWAY OR A RV PARK.
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Shaymus View Post
Anyone camp away from the RV campgrounds and not pay the fees? How does that work, and how do you find spots where you can drop anchor for the night? I want to be out in nature more anyway, not listening to someone's generator and seeing their TV flicker through their window.

Please help! Camping in a tiny fiberglass trailer has to be cheaper than this!
Shaymus - see the thread in this forum on WalMart "camping." This works on the road.

There are US Forest Service campgrounds all over the USA. They run from free to $15 a night (this is where the Golden Age Pass (one $10 payment for a lifetime card!!!) really shines) . You can find a list on the USFS website by state. Another option is BLM lands and camp sites.

When we are on the road we use the WalMart route. When we are in one place for several days we try and find a place with hookups for at least one day in three, using USFS, BLM and State campgrounds in between. AAA, Good Sam and Camping World are good resources to find less expensive RV parks. We have had good luck with AAA, usually paying between $25 to $35 a night.

Happy Trails,
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:34 PM   #4
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We find camping sites for half or less of what you spoke of, most of the time, in COE, state parks, and BLM or National Forest campgrounds. Our campsite of very last resort is an "RV resort", where I can (often) borrow a cup of sugar from my neighbor without leaving my trailer...
We do not have a golden age/geezer pass (yet).
Some counties and cities have low-price and/or free parks as well. We've not camped in California, so I don't have local suggestions. However, I'd suspect you'd find more National Forest and BLM lands in the west than COE parks.
Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:58 PM   #5
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Cool National, State, County, Regional, and City Parks

For you in Northern California I highly recommend Stillwater Cove Campground in Sonoma County on Hwy 1. We've stayed there and loved it.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:37 PM   #6
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For you in Northern California I highly recommend Stillwater Cove Campground in Sonoma County on Hwy 1. We've stayed there and loved it.
Really a beautiful place, Frederick.

AAA has a Northern CA campground map that shows all of the spots for tent and RV camping. They break the campgrounds down by agency (FS, BLM,County, State, Private, etc.) # of sites, facilities, amenities, price, size and number of RVs allowed, attractions (hiking, fishing, etc.). Really a good tool for the T.V.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:40 PM   #7
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There's overnighting (Walmart), camping (organized state parks, etc.) and resorts (look up those spots via Google) and free... BLM. If you're looking for cheap parks, plan ahead.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:45 PM   #8
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Here's a few suggestions for keeping the cost down.
Get this book Amazon.com: Guide To Free Campgrounds-West 13h Edition: Includes Campgrounds $12 And Under In The 17 Western States (Don Wright's Guide to Free Campgrounds Western Edition) (9780937877494): Don Wright: Books

Get "Camping with the CORP of Engineers" book.

Use the internet to look at National Forests Campgrounds.
Go to National Parks. There's several in CA.

If you're 62 or over get the Senior Pass. Free entry into National Parks and 1/2 price camping at all federal campgrounds.

We've been on the road for about 75 day and have averaged about $8.00 per night. There's a few free night a number $4.00 nights and few $12.50 nights.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:48 AM   #9
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Many people don't know that by Federal Law camping is allowed almost anywhere in a National Forest, and the only place you'll have to pay a fee is in "developed campgrounds". There are some local exceptions, and campfires are often restricted. Call the Ranger District office for the forest you're interested in and ask about "dispersed camping".
Note: This does NOT apply to National Parks.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:38 AM   #10
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Hi: All...I'm having a hard time finding a spot to camp in the Adirondacs...that has electric sites. Seems all State Pks. are primitive camping and on the other end of the scale KOA's are resort camping!!!
Our Ontario Provincial Pk's are almost double the rates of N.Y. State Pk's.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie ps. It's daylight savings time again...if that helps!!!
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:01 AM   #11
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Shaymus
There's lots of good references for paying less for campsite and most already know about this site and it would be a good place for you to start if your not familiar with it.
Joe

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Old 03-13-2011, 11:17 AM   #12
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Good Info

Thanks for the replies. This is all great information and will definitely get me started on MORE research. Seems like you can't do enough research, but now I have more of an idea on what books to get and where to go.

Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
Hi: All...I'm having a hard time finding a spot to camp in the Adirondacs...that has electric sites. Seems all State Pks. are primitive camping and on the other end of the scale KOA's are resort camping!!!
Our Ontario Provincial Pk's are almost double the rates of N.Y. State Pk's.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie ps. It's daylight savings time again...if that helps!!!
Set things up so you don't need electric sites. We just go home after 98 days on the road with the Scamp. We spent total time in sites with electricity about 10 days. The maximum time we spent in one place without electricity was two week and we did that twice. our average per night fee was $7.30. Cheap and no electricity are possible.
Byron
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:51 AM   #14
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Chiming in with Byron on this one. It would be a shame to miss out on the beautiful state parks in the Adirondacks because of an electricity dependency. Last summer, we camped in Lake Durant and Ausable Point campgrounds in the Adirondacks. Both amazing, in different ways. At Ausable Point, we could see Vermont across the lake from our lovely campsite on the shore. At Lake Durant, we emulated the ducks in the rain, under a heavy tree cover, by the shore. .
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Old 04-10-2011, 03:06 PM   #15
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hi..to all of you speaking of dry camping/boondocking---do all of you have a 3-way refrigerator (ours is 12volt or electric (still 12v but thru the inverter if hooked up) and we don't routinely carry a generator....how are you --especially you, byron, getting around this?
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Old 04-10-2011, 03:28 PM   #16
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(ours is 12volt or electric (still 12v but thru the inverter if hooked up) and we don't routinely carry a generator....how are you --especially you, byron, getting around this?
That's too bad
I didn't know they even MAKE 12v/110-only fridges for RVs., though plenty of rigs are coming out now with 110/propane only.
Mine's 3-way, and I use propane unless I'm paying for hookups. Sometimes even then I stick with propane, since the 15 amp service in my Trillium isn't big enough to carry the combined load of an electric heater, coffeemaker, lights, and fridge. (My "getting my money's worth" kit!)

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Old 04-11-2011, 01:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by theresa p View Post
hi..to all of you speaking of dry camping/boondocking---do all of you have a 3-way refrigerator (ours is 12volt or electric (still 12v but thru the inverter if hooked up) and we don't routinely carry a generator....how are you --especially you, byron, getting around this?
My Fridge is a 3 way. My lights are most LED and Cold Cathode Florescent Lights. So I have very little current drain on the battery. I use a solar panel to recharge the battery about every 3 days I'm sitting still, otherwise the tow charges the battery. After 97 days and only about 10 with electricity, we're quite happy with the way it all performed.

Byron
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:28 PM   #18
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Question

Theresa,

Off-topic question:
Is there a project description anywhere in this forum about the fabulously clever screen door you folks built for your trailer?
I couldn't make the image series work at the registry page. I'd sure like to learn how to build one of these!

Thanks

Francesca
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:57 PM   #19
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Back to Original Topic, I have been shocked at the prices for camping in California in resent years, as well as how hard it is to just go and camp without having a reservation. But the area you chose to visit will have a great impact on the cost of staying there.

Napa, seems to have a name for being one of the "The" places to see, with a capital $ in its rep. I know there are place to dry camp in national forests and in the deserts which California has an abundance. The way I see things, most private campgrounds will be more expensive (seems the CA state parks are not far behind on this however), but I believe you can find a few state parks somewhat less costly than what you mentioned paying.
California State Parks Find a Park

Resort Type camping spots will have a higher price tag. As you asked, I would suggest to look into finding public places to camp and to give dry camping (camping without hookups) a try. Otherwise you will be paying for having all the amenities of such.

Maybe some of these will be of some help, but not as many listings along the California Coast.
Overnighting Sites are good places to overnight without renting a spot in a park.

Free or Almost Free Campgrounds are good for overnighting as well as seeing an area.

Free Campsites ditto on overnighting and camping.

Boondocking sites – Free places to park for the night | Has Been There The has been there is not from me, but from others.

National Forest: Find a Forest by State

California State Park Fees

Free Campsites in CA.

CA Free or Nearly Free Campgrounds

County parks might be one way find places, such as: Two Santa Barbara County Parks with Camping. Never been to them but have heard good things about Jalama Beach Park. But I have read, they are about to remodel Jalama. Not sure about cost.

While traveling in CA, I have noticed signs marking Regional Parks, they might be neat to use as well: Category:Regional parks in California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This was a neat one we have visited but never stayed in: Regional Parks

They may be county parks, not sure.

These may be of help, a "How to Boondock" sites: How to Boondock in Your RV | eHow.com

Boondock Camping

How to boondock safely - CampingRoadTrip.com

How To Boondock Camp

Boondocking Tips

Like life itself, pick what suits you.

Staying overnight or many nights isn't hard, what is difficult, IMHO, is showers. We have done them with just heating water and washing and shampooing by pouring water over the head, but would rather not at our stage of life. Having a shower house is really a plus for the state parks and such. Our 16' Scamp has a shower. I have noticed shower tents and shower systems for tent camping which might be worthwhile. Walmart.com: Ozark Trail Shower Utility Room: Camping

Walmart.com: Stansport Cabana Privacy Shelter: Camping

We used a 5 gal. camping can for many years to get water for camping.
Such as this: Walmart.com: Ozark Trails 5 gallon fold-a-carrier water container: Camping
or this: Walmart.com: Coghlan's Expandable Camp Jug: Camping

But camping like you want to do, shouldn't be too hard to find. But maybe not where you wanted to camp. Good luck.

I see Samuel P. Taylor SP isn't much less at $35. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=469
Check out these:
http://www.sonoma-county.org/parks/pk_doran.htm
http://www.sonoma-county.org/parks/pk_wstsd.htm
http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisi...ampgrounds.htm
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:59 PM   #20
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Wondering what the advantage to Escapees is.

Are there places in the western states that honor Escapees plan? Have been wondering is their membership price is worthwhile. I haven't been able to find which RV parks honor this membership without joining and I don't want to join if I can't take advantage of the reduced rate of membership.

Marg in NW California
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