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  1. Default Solo Trip Back Home

    I am planning on roadtripping it back to Illinois from Nova Scotia in about three weeks. This is not my first time making this trip, however rather than rushing through like I normally do, I would like to take my time and camp. It usually takes two days to go, but I would like to take three or four days and camp at cheap/free camp sites. Any ideas or tips? This would be my first time doing this. I will be by myself, so secure places are a must. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Free? Look for cheap

    Free places are usually places not designated for camping. It's really quite rare to find a free campground. And I would not suggest camping in an undesignated area. You could be on property property and get ticketed/arrested for trespassing.

    State and county parks are typically rather inexpensive, usually running anywhere from about $12-20/night with $15 being closer to the average price I've seen. It's worth it to spend this small sum to camp in an official campground. I'm an avid camper and I've never stayed in a campground that didn't seem safe. When I'm traveling solo, I do tend to choose sites closer to either the campground host or groups of other campers instead of going into more remote and private areas of the campground. I just feel safer that way.

    Some national forest areas do offer free camping in undesignated areas. You will want to see if any are on your route and then check with the ranger station in that area to see if it's allowed and what the rules are. Typical rules for this are that your campsite is not seen from the road and that you practice "no trace" camping meaning that you return the area to the way you found it. We typically try to leave it better than we found it, meaning that if someone else left garbage, we pack it out with our own.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Two Days? Really?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums!

    It's over 1,600 miles to even the closest point in Illinois from Halifax, so if you're making that drive in 2 days you are pushing yourself beyond what are safe limits. Three days begins to be a sane amount of time, but still won't leave a lot to spare for sight seeing. The first thing you'll need to do is decide which country you'll be traveling through. There are two essentially equivalent routes in terms of both miles and time: The Trans-Canada through Edmundston, Montréal and Toronto, crossing into the U.S. at Sarnia, ON and continuing on I-69/I-94 to Illinois, or crossing into the U.S. at Houlton, ME and taking I-95/I-90. If you've used one of these routes exclusively in the past, try the other one this time. Cheep to free campsites will depend on which way you go. State and Provincial parks generally have pretty low cost campsites. In the U.S. you can find some free camping in distributed camping sites in National Forests, but you'll have to check before setting up, either before you hit the road or by stopping in at a ranger station upon arrival. I don't know if this is still the case, but many years ago when I drove the Trans-Canada, many of the small towns along it would have what were sign-posted as 'transient camps' or some such. For the most part, these appeared to be local parks where weary travelers were free to pull in and sleep in their cars. If you were still there when the local constabulary would come by around 7:00 or 8:00, they'd hit you up for a few bucks. I've never been able to find any mention of this system on the web, so I can't guarantee how widespread or current it is.


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