Well our blog on traveling and living simple (read frugal) just wouldn't be complete with 'a life made simple's' weigh in on 'free camping' AKA boondocking, stealth camping, dry camping, independent parking and on. There are rules attached that we travelers all learn (well most of us) in order to preserve this mode of travel. We make use of these overnight stops as much as possible - actually last year on our 2010 tour we only stayed in 1 State Park for 1 night - the rest was on dispersed or BLM land - not totally free since we paid the $180 - but over the 4 1/2 months - pretty close to free.
In order to stay on budget we will need to be creative and resourceful on this trip. Texas and states east are not known for boondocking as are Arizona and California. As mentioned on the last post we make use of the internet for our research - both freecampgrounds.com and freecampsites.net are great sites - there are others plus we visit other travelers blogs for overnight stop ideas. A lot of RVers boondock and a lot talk about it on their blogs - thankfully! Here is one of the best descriptions of boondocking I have read.
Coleman Park, here in Brownfield TX, is one of the best we have found - water and electric hookups, sani dump and free wifi - plus a nice big park to walk around - this is free camping at it's finest. I am now working hard to find more city parks around Texas and further for us to stop in. The next one on the list is only 40 miles down the road in Lamesa - as long as the warm weather holds we will take our time moving across Texas and making use of these free or near free city parks.
We do make use of Walmarts, rest areas, roadside pullouts, and travel centers - as long as they look safe and are not too busy we will stay. We have used a few Casino's in the past but not our first choice. Baker City Oregon was also one of the better overnight stops this trip also - it was a truck stop but with the visitor's center and hotels across the street with pretty tree lights it made for a nice stop.
Tonight I was excited to find Magnolia Beach - a free place to camp just south of Port Lavaca - we will probably head there once we have visited the Hill Country on our way east along the Gulf Coast. Operation Explorations reviewed this beach here - and Kevin and Ruth described the beach here - actually Kevin and Ruth have become my inspiration for finding free overnight places - they seem to have it fine tuned!
I can't wait to have our toes in the sand at Magnolia Beach and the Gulf Coast on from there - it will be a first for Cassia - we sure hope the weather holds.