After remaining stationary while workamping all summer at our favorite Colorado ranch, it’s great to be back on the road again. Not so great is having to pay for camping as we head to Virgina for our Greyhounds Rock keynote. There just aren’t many places to find boondocking on the East Coast.
We’re looking forward to heading back West for the winter, now that we have our Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides to Boondocking.
shun·pike [shuhn-pahyk] : noun, verb, shun·piked, shun·pik·ing.
- noun: a side road taken instead of a turnpike or expressway to avoid tolls or to travel at a leisurely pace. verb (used without object)
- verb: to drive on a shunpike.
The kind folks over at Frugal-RV-Travel.com sent us a couple guides to review, and we selected the Southwest region since that’s where we tend to spend most of our time boondocking. We often use the Escapees Day’s End Directory, and there are various other online resources for finding low and no cost camping. But at first glance, the Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides look like they will come in quite handy.
If you like boondocking and traveling on the cheap like we do, we think you will enjoy what these travel guides have to offer.
Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides At A Glance
Available for six regions throughout the United States, the Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides are much more than just directories of listings with brief descriptions. Each guide includes a wealth of trip-planning information, with details about dispersed camping, regional restrictions, public lands, park passes, local attractions, fishing, and much more.
The first feature I liked about these guides is they are in PDF format, the benefit being that we can read them offline without any need for an internet connection. We can read them in the car, or when camping way off the grid – like at many of the places listed in the guides! Like our own remote home based business e-book, you can click on any item listed in the table of contents and be directed right to the page with the information you seek. Each guide also includes an extensive cross-referenced index, however, those pages listed are not hyperlinked.
The narrative nature of entries in these guides is where the author’s intimate knowledge of each area shines. Directions to campsites include important access details in addition to just GPS coordinates, though you will find those too – often for the highway exit, access road, and actual campsite. take for instance this note about getting to Navy Beach at Mono Lake…
“If you stay to the right as you’re entering the South Tufa Viewing Area, instead of going to the main parking lot, you can follow a dirt road to a free parking area at Navy Beach. The road is good but quite narrow so vehicle pin-striping is a possibility.”
Good to know! You won’t find that level of personal experience in most free campsite directories, except those that allow comments, and only then if others have commented.
RV Boondocking in Southern Texas
We’re looking forward to putting the Southern Texas Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide to good use as we head back across the country. The free spots we have found in Texas have been few and far between since there is such limited public land in such a large state.
For those new to RVing or anyone who just wants to explore the Lone Star state, this guide provides a suggested one-month itinerary with a route that allows for a variety of activities at a relaxed pace and on a very reasonable budget. Download this guide to learn how to spend less than $110 in camping fees for an entire month!
Seasoned Winter Texans like us will enjoy 80 suggested frugal camping areas complete with details about local attractions, whether a tent can be set up and what size of RV can easily access each site. The Southern Texas guide is divided into three sections – the Gulf Coast, Hill Country and Big Bend region – each of which can bring you to a completely different terrain and, consequently, a whole different style of adventure.
In addition to finding the best frugal or free camping sites in Southern Texas, we like how this guide provides tips on what to see, where to shop, where to eat, where to find free water, free RV dump stations, propane, laundromats, and more.
California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra
We have written plenty about boondocking at Slab City, but other than enjoying the farmers market in Borrego Springs and meeting up with NüRVers at Quartzsite we haven’t really stayed at many other free camping areas. That is going to change now that we have the California Boondocking Frugal Shunpiker’s guide.
This 157-page printable e-book includes detailed directions to every attraction and campsite listed. Various suggested route maps illustrate where you’ll find all the listed free camping locations. An extensive introduction includes information ranging from additional savings available with a Federal Interagency Recreation Pass to campfire permits and RV size limits for campsites.
From the scenic desert landscapes of Jashua Tree National Park and the Mojave National preserve to rugged pine forests of Mammoth Lakes and Tioga Pass, this guide facilitates an affordable and adventurous, crowd-free trip though the southwest.
Millions of RVers enjoy boondocking in the desert and flock to RV communities throughout Southern California and Arizona every year. Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) are great, but many RVers have discovered them so they tend to be crowded in peak season.
If you prefer to camp for free in the most scenic locations, would rather travel around instead of staying in one place, and are looking for affordable adventures and variety in your RV travels, you need this guide.
Where’s the app?
The one challenge I immediately discovered after downloading the Frugal Shunpiker’s Boondocking Guides, was how to view it on our iPhone. We’ve been all about lightening our load of hefty directories ever since we stepped into the smart phone age. So for those who don’t wish to print out these directories, here’s a quick solution for finding the best free boondocking right from the palm of your hand:
- Download the Frugal Shunpiker’s Guides
- Install the free iBooks app on your iPhone
- Email the PDF to yourself (or temporarily upload it somewhere)
- View the PDF on your phone’s browser
- Click the Save to iBooks button
The guide will then be available on your bookshelf for offline reading anytime, even if you are boondocking off the grid miles from the nearest internet connection.