Favorite Places to Camp in the West

Read Part II: Favorite Midwest Places to Camp
Read Part III: Favorite Places to Camp in the East

Favorite RV Sites: Part I

Can you name your top 10 places to camp in North America? We would love to hear your favorite RV camping locations whether they’re boondocking in the sticks or living in luxury on beachfront property.

Recently a reader asked us to name our favorite places to camp. This was a real challenge, since one RVer’s paradise might be a dump to someone else. But here goes:

The following list features our favorite and most memorable destinations after nearly six years on the road. I’m going to present these in a three-part series since if you’re like me, you have the attention span of a gnat and want bite-sized summaries.

Favorite West Coast Destinations

As California natives, we’re biased when it comes to camping on the left coast. Our favorite places to park our RV include:

Washington: The Methow Valley and The Olympic Peninsula. They’re wet, moldy and damp most of the year but copious amounts of rainfall make these areas one of the most lush, prehistoric regions in the U.S. Along with ample humidity and moisture, you’ll also enjoy small bandanna belt micro-climates in places like Sequim and Twisp, which present a nice break from the year-round gloom and doom weather.

California: Some of California’s most scenic and remote areas you can access by RV include: Humboldt & Del Norte Counties, Lassen National Forest, Highway 395, The Slabs and Borrego Springs. Growing up in the Golden State, I was lucky enough to explore rugged mountains and coastlines back in the day when there were fewer people who had the same idea that we did.

Today many of our all-time favorite places to camp in California are either overpopulated or remote and not accessible by RV. However you’ll still find lots of great RV camping destinations from Eureka to El Centro. You can’t go wrong in Cali no matter what time of year you visit.

Favorite Southwest Destinations

The Southwest is our favorite place to escape winter. Forget the expensive east coast RV parks and dense cities, the southwest is cheap, big and desolate. Frugal RV living doesn’t get any better than places like:

Arizona: Organ Pipe National Monument, Bisbee. These two favorites are located along the Mexican border, but we’ve never felt like we were in danger while staying there. Bisbee is a funky art town that hasn’t yet been ruined by artsy New Yorkers, and Organ Pipe has so much border patrol activity you can’t be camped in a safer and more beautiful place.

Colorado. We found our dream property in Colorado after looking all over the U.S.. Need we say more?

Colorado has so many public camping options I can’t even try to name all of them. Our favorite spots include the Lake City region between Gunnison and Silverton, and the Roosevelt National Forest that surrounds our “Jerry’s Acres” property near Fort Collins.

New Mexico: New Mexico’s diverse camping options range from alpine mountains in the north to flat, big desert in the south. Our favorite places to camp include: Jemez Springs (Fenton Lake State Park), Bottomless Lakes State Park and Rodeo de Santa Fe. Although springtime winds can be brutal, a visit here any time of year is worthwhile. And when we’re sick of picking grit out of our teeth, we head to Santa Fe where we can park cheaply at the rodeo fairgrounds and enjoy a world-class art town with an unforgettable ambiance.

Utah: Anywhere in the Canyonlands region like Mexican Hat Capitol Reef National Park or Green River rank high on our list not just because you can find dozens of free places to camp on BLM land, but because Capitol Reef is where we got engaged in 1996!

Texas: West Texas, specifically the Big Bend and Black Gap, have become our all-time favorite places to winter. This vast, open region is about as close as you’re going to get to free camping in Texas since free public lands are as rare in Texas as a Democrat in Dallas.

But even if you have to pay to camp, rest assured that this is one area that’s worth the money. After the Big Bend, the Hill Country around New Braunfels is our second favorite because of its proximity to awesome music, food and scenery.

These are our favorite places to camp.  Now, how about yours?

Stay tuned for our next posts on our favorite places to camp in the Midwest, East Coast and Southeast.

Read Part II: Favorite Midwest Places to Camp
Read Part III: Favorite Places to Camp in the East

10 thoughts on “Favorite Places to Camp in the West”

  1. I must say you folks are the best wealth of information about many of the places I have been longing to visit. The Southwest is my all time favorite place. I’ve tried to explain to people what you get when you go there but that list is so long. Thank you for saying it for me.

    • That was Washington’s Methow Valley near Winthrop & Twisp. We were just going along for a bike ride and there was this spectacular scenery everywhere we turned. We love it there!

  2. Hey Rene,
    I’m starting to realize that with all the places I want to see plus your list of amazing places to see. I will not live long enough to visit them all.

    Note to self: The next time I decide to do this, start younger.

  3. I was just saying to my husband last night, while we were going through our new Benchmark maps, “I think once we get on the road, I think we are really going to realize just how HUGE the West is!” So thankful for this list…and everything you share!

    • You are SO right. This is just the best of the best that we’ve found so far. I almost feel like doing a “runners up” post with other obscure little places we’ve been, but it would take me days to do it. I’m so glad you like the info here, thank you so much for reading.


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