Camping in a van can be a tricky proposition. Whether you are renting from us or a full-time vanlifer, finding a good place to park for the night is often the hardest part of the day. Knowing the areas where you are or aren’t allowed to sleep in a vehicle is vital. With you in mind, we’ve compiled this list of different camping options for van dwellers.
For free campsites, you really can’t beat freecampsites.net, which lists everything from amazing BLM or National Forest dispersed camping spots, to Walmart parking lots. You have to wade through a lot of campgrounds and the map function can be cumbersome to work, but some of the best free campsite gems we have ever found have been from this directory. Make sure you spend some time reading the reviews, and note the dates as the state of dispersed campgrounds can change fast. Note: it is a lot easier to navigate their map view on a desktop than a cellphone.
- National and State Park Campgrounds
Official National and State Park Campgrounds are often well located and have great amenities, but tend to book up early. There is a range of official websites (recreation.gov is one of the most common) to book these through, which will change from park to park, and sometimes even campground to campground. The easiest thing to do is to Google the National or State Park you are interested in, with “reserve campgrounds” on the end of your search. This should get you close to the right page. Costs vary across the country, but usually range from $20 to $40 per night. Note that most National Parks allow you to stay in a tent site if you are 20ft or less… so you don’t have to pay extra for a noisy RV park!
Private campgrounds can be amazing, but you do need to vet these through a review website, as the quality varies. We have found that the easiest way to search for them is via Google maps- find the location that you are searching within, and search the map for campgrounds. This means the campgrounds will immediately come up with reviews as well. Another way to do this and achieve the same thing is through Tripadvisor. Wanting something a bit more off-the-beaten-track? We would recommend having a look at HipCamp (like Airbnb but with private land for camping) in your area.
Stressed out about not being able to find a place to camp? We are here to help. Our itineraries department offers fully customized itineraries with pre-booked campsites and activities. Let us take the guesswork out of the equation!