With increased fuel costs and inflation, most of us are feeling the pinch in our wallets these days. We’ve done the research. And we’ve found some great places where you can STILL travel, but do so on the cheap!
RV Travel – National Parks
Our National parks offer some of the most beautiful and affordable destinations for RVers and Campers. Many parks have campsites within the parks themselves with very low nightly rates. Take for example the Watchman Campground at Zion National Park. Here you can get an RV site for only $30 per night with an electrical hookup!
Or consider Rainbow Point Campground right outside of Yellowstone National Park. You can camp here for only $20/night which also includes an electrical hook-up. You will enjoy some AMAZING views and this campground is SUPER quiet with amazing views of the night sky.
The entrance fees to our National Parks are very reasonable. Or better yet, purchase or have an annual pass! Now you can into any of our National Parks for free all year! If you have a 4th grader or are a Gold Star Family or a veteran you can even get a National Park to pass for FREE!
Now, I know some of you are already saying this to yourself. “Yes, I get it. The National parks are awesome BUT the campgrounds are hard to get into and they stay booked up.”
Securing a Campsite
Well, this is where we LOVE using Arvie to be able to secure some of these hard-to-get reservations. Arvie is an online travel agency booking service made JUST for RV Travelers and campers. Arvie is the ONLY online travel agency where you can search, compare & book public parks across all those booking sites, and members never pay a booking fee! Save time when searching for a campground by using Arvie FIRST to check for campgrounds on over 11 platforms! These include campsites listed on Recreation.gov, ReserveAmerica, KOA, Florida State Parks, and many other State Park System sites including CA, FL, VA, OH, MN, MO & AL.
That’s over 3,500 state and national parks you can search, compare and book on Arvie. More coming soon!
Using Sold Out Search
Arvie is a time saver when trip planning since it will search multiple platforms at once. And the thing we probably love most about Arvie is their Sold Our Search Feature. So once you know where you want you to want to camp, what if that campground is sold out for the dates you wanted to stay? We’ve had this happen to us several times. And this is where you can set up a Sold Out Search in Arvie. Their booking platform will AUTOMATICALLY book that campground for you when a cancelation happens even while you sleep! We’ve used this Sold Out Search feature several times with amazing success. And since we love to share about products or services we ACTUALLY use and love ourselves, we’ve partnered with Arvie for a 10% discount for our viewers. We’ve learned that Arvie is really our best shot to get the spot!
Most State parks have campgrounds! There is a really good chance you probably have some state parks in your own backyard! This is a great way to have an RV Staycation of sorts, and save BIG time!
Many State parks typically offer campsites that range from primitive tent sites to full-service RV sites. Many of these RV sites have electrical and water hookups and in some cases, even sewer hook-ups. If there is not a sewer hook-up, most of the campsites have a dump station on site. Many state parks also offer group campsites that can accommodate larger groups of campers.
State Park Campgrounds often offer a range of amenities. Many include things like fire rings, picnic tables, grills, and bathhouses with hot showers and flush toilets. Some state parks will also offer laundry facilities, camp stores, and other services.
You’ll usually find a variety of outdoor activities that campers can enjoy, including hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, and wildlife viewing. Many state parks also offer educational programs, guided tours, and other activities. These provide campers with opportunities to learn about the natural world and local ecosystems.
BLM or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land where you can camp for FREE! The BLM manages millions of acres of public land throughout the United States. And much of it is available for RV camping. Many BLM areas offer primitive campsites with no hookups, and the fees are typically quite low or even FREE! Camping on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land can be a unique and rewarding outdoor experience. It’s a great way to explore the American West which is where you will find the majority of BLM land.
A few things to keep in mind. This type of camping is referred to as Boondocking which means you are dry camping with no hookups. It’s cheap but will require some advanced planning. You will want to make sure you have some sort of power source (we have lithium batteries and solar coming soon). As well as make sure you have enough fresh water to last for the time you plan to be out camping. Be aware some BLM areas may have restrictions or require a permit for specific activities. Some of these include backcountry camping, hunting, or fishing. It’s important to check with the local BLM office for any specific permit requirements before camping.
Some popular BLM areas to consider. Quartzsite in Arizona, Joshua Tree National Park, Big Bend National Park in Texas, and areas in Utah and Nevada.
State & National Forest Campgrounds
National forests offer a range of camping options. These include RV campsites with partial or full hookups, primitive campsites, and dispersed camping. Fees will vary depending on the specific forest and the type of camping. But they are generally quite reasonable, and when I say reasonable we are talking $20/night or less in some cases.
We recently stayed at the Tillis Hill campground in the Withlachooche State Forest. We paid only $22.50/night for a beautiful campsite with both electrical and water hookups. And we used Arvie to snag this campsite as a last-minute cancelation!
City & County Run Campgrounds
A destination where you can travel and camp for CHEAP is City and County-run campgrounds. Now, these campgrounds are known for being particularly affordable. We’ve stayed at several of these types of campgrounds over the years. And the average nightly rate can range anywhere from $10/night to $25/per night. Most of them have some sort of partial hookup or even full hookup in some cases. A great example of this is a small campground in Durand, Wisconsin. We paid only $25/night for water and electricity, there was a dump station on site. The sites were paved and there was a park for the kids to play. As well as huge grassy areas for the dog to walk. Or another example would be Weeping Water, Nebraska where we’ve camped for only $15/night with an electrical hook-up! These city and county-run campgrounds are truly hidden INSANELY cheap gems!