Boondocking on public land is a great way to avoid the crowds in RV parks and save some money on camping fees. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has over 400 campgrounds and almost all of them have sites that can accommodate RVs.
These BLM campgrounds don’t have hookups or dump stations, but their low nightly rates reflect the lack of amenities. Come prepared and you can get total peace and quiet for less than $20 a night.
1. Ken’s Lake, Utah
South of Moab and Arches National Park, Ken’s Lake has 31 well-spaced sites that can fit motorhomes of all sizes. The campground has a quiet, beautiful setting with views of the lake and the nearby La Sal Mountains.
Sites are only $15 per night and available first-come, first-served. The campground has no potable water, so be sure to bring your own. The area has over three miles of hiking trails for views of the lake, Moab Valley, and Faux Falls.
2. Edson Creek, Oregon
Edson Creek Campground, only fifteen minutes from the Oregon Coast, is located in an open meadow where the creek flows in the Sixes River. The 27 campsites (and 5 group sites) have picnic tables, fire rings, and access to restrooms and potable water. There is also a day-use area and a boat ramp just across the street.
Sites are only $8 a night ($30 for group sites) and $4 per extra vehicle. The campground is only a short drive away from the coastal beaches, hiking trails, and shops and restaurants in Port Orford.
3. Devil’s Elbow, Montana
Northeast of Helena, Devil’s Elbow Campground has 42 campsites overlooking Lake Hauser, a reservoir on the Missouri River. The level, gravel sites can fit any size RV and all have views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
The lake also has year-round fishing for trout, walleye, and kokanee salmon. Sites are only $15 a night with a limit up to 14 days. You can reserve a site ahead of time for Loop A and Group Camping, but the rest of the sites are first-come, first-served.
4. Wild Rivers Recreation Area, New Mexico
In Northern New Mexico, Wild Rivers Recreation Area is located within the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. It’s very remote and off-the-beaten-path, but you’ll be rewarded with solitude and impressive views for only $7 a night.
The 13-mile Wild Rivers Backcountry Byway branches off the main highway and leads past the campgrounds and trailhead parking lots. The recreation area also has a visitor center with maps and more information on the local history and geology.
5. Goodale Creek Campground, California
The sites at Goodale Creek have sweeping views of the Sierra Nevadas, Inyo Mountains, and Owens Valley—and they’re only $5 a night. However, the primitive campground has no water or restrooms, and the nearest amenities are in Big Pine about ten miles north.
Spring and fall are the best times to visit when there are fewer crowds and the temperatures are mild. By the summer, this area in Eastern California can get extremely hot and dry.