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  1. Default All America Summer Road Trip

    I am planning on taking month and a half road trip with a big focus on the West Coast this summer. To cut down on costs I hope to camp all along the way. Are there permits I need to obtain? Are there any other measure I need to take in advnace (and if so how long) or can I just camp where I please?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Designated areas.

    Hi, welcome to R.T.A.

    or can I just camp where I please?
    In the National parks they have designated campgrounds or if you want to go hiking in the back country you will need a permit. Other land will belong to someone and you could be considered to be tresspassing on private property.

    There are plenty of campgrounds around and I am sure there are loads of quiet spots you could pitch your tent, but do you want to risk being woken by an angry land owner or a large herd of wilderbeast eating your tent, Lol!

  3. Default Campgrounds are cheap

    Most campgrounds only run around $20-$25/night, sometimes even cheaper. Plus, if you try to use the same company for reservations, like KOA campgrounds you can get a membership that gives you 10% off each reservation, plus rewards points towards free nights.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-08-2009 at 03:43 AM. Reason: Preferred link format

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default KOAs

    Virtually ever year we stay in a KOA, get talked into buying the discount card, and then never stay in one again. So we never enjoy much more than the initial discount we get on that current stay.

    One of the reasons for this is that there just aren't that many KOAs in our area to stay in and, when there is a KOA, there are usually better options nearby. So, if I were you, I would check out the KOA website and see where they are located and how they fit into your itinerary before getting the discount card.

    Nothing against KOAs but there are much better options. I have good luck finding wonderful government-run campsites at this website.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Bookings

    I have to agree with Judy. The Gov sites in the N.P's are much better value and offer great surroundings, as quite often do carefully chosen privately owned sites.
    The main difference is the amenieties, if you want to experience a "wilderness feel" in your camping [albeit with quite a few others] the N.P sites are perfect, however if you want a gym, bar and a swimming pool it's a no go.

    The only downside is that to guarantee a spot for camping or permit for back country hiking you will have to book up as soon as possible through the N.P.S as they get full quickly in the summer months which will tie you into a schedule.

  6. Default

    Thanks for the advice. I'm finally moving the trip from idea to actual planning stage and I am currently researching gov't sites.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Booking fees

    One of the downsides of reserving on that website is that you have to pay an extra fee to book through it. If you're on a budget, it would be nice to save that fee and just pay at the campground. However, then you have no guarantee of a site. If you're comfortable with taking a chance, go for it.

  8. Default

    so it is possible to just show up, pay, and pitch a tent? also is there such a thing as an area where i can camp for free, safely, and without reservations? thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default certainly

    Yes, there are many times where you can get a campsite without a reservation, it just depends upon what is available. Most public campgrounds, including National Parks, also have first come first served sites that are not reservable.

    As far as free sites, you can often camp in National Forest Lands or BLM lands in dispersed areas free of charge. This would be pack-in pack-out camping, with no services, and you'd have to check with a ranger station where this is allowed, but it is a free option.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default The no reservation option

    If you're going to be in a particularly popular area (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mt. Rainier all pop into mind), your chances of getting a 1st come/1st served campsite are pretty limited unless you're there in the shoulder seasons. Even then, chances of getting a site on a weekend would still be iffy. Just so ya know and you can plan around it.

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