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Free Camping 101 or Don’t Pay to Park

August 20, 2011

There are a lot of campsites in North America at a real variety of prices. There are RV parks, many of which resemble car parks, which can charge up to $50 a night. You get hook-ups with electricity and water and most of them have WI-FI. However the setting is horrible and you are on top of each other. We avoid these as much as we can.

There are also State run campgrounds which are often in really beautiful spots and provide minimal facilities – usually a table, firepit and some pit toilets. These range in price from around $10 to $20. National Parks have similar campgrounds but these can be more expensive.

However I think what marks a true Overlander is Free Camping. What some call boon docking or bandit camping. This is finding spots to camp for the night which are free and it is this that we have learnt to do.

In fact some of the most beautiful spots that we have stayed at have been free campsites. They can range from turnouts by roads (most of which have minimal traffic late at night) to unmarked unpaved roads leading to viewpoints or other interesting places.

The only disadvantage to free camping is the lack of toilets. However it is possible to even find places with access to toilets which make great overnight stops (such as rest areas).

The key things are to look for the NO CAMPING signs or NO OVERNIGHT PARKING and if you see these then roll on by and look for somewhere else. There is always somewhere near by.,

Now this strategy has worked great in Canada and Alaska – we will see how we get on as we go further south.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    August 22, 2011 2:01 am

    Something I always asked when when meeting an Alaskan was, “Were you born here?” During 2 weeks of travel I met only 1 adult who could say they were born in Alaska. The second question asked was, “Do you ever plan to go back to the lower 48?” The answer would nearly always be “No, I’ll never go back”.

    Are you meeting many Alaskan’s or are you living in the easy and adaptable life of Alaskan solitude? When I was there in mid-May, I don’t think all the Alaskan’s were out of their hibernation (much like the bears) so maybe there are more than just 1 born there in the entire state. 🙂

    • August 28, 2011 8:34 pm

      I so agree that most people you meet seem to have been born in the Lower 48. My guidebook says that only 34% of Alaskans were born there. We have met some natives also though and they were definitely born there. We met one lovely lady who was an eskimo born in Nome and her grandfather had been chief of the Wolf Clan (I think I’ve got that right).

      We have met plenty of Alaskans and they are great people, really friendly. The one thing they all seem to have in common is that they are pretty hardy, you have to be to survive the winters. And they all seem to love hunting and fishing. They are also a little bit nuts – but again I suppose you have to be !

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