WHERE TO CAMP FOR CHEAP/FREE
i am going on a trip next summer (2005), i want to camp, in order to save money. dont u need reservations to camp at most parks??
with four people, might it be worth just staying at motel 6 all the time?
You don't need reservations to find campsites -- unless you plan on staying in popular recreation areas or National Parks. Even then, many times there are drive-up sites available, first come first served, but in summer, these are harder to find.
Try state parks, National Forest campgrounds, or even dispersed camping (camping in the National Forests outside of developed campgrounds). Dispersed camping is usually free. National forest campgrounds can be found for anywhere between about $8 per night to $20, depending on the services available there. You can find out about current information by calling the ranger stations in the areas you will be visiting (look them up using the BLM listings of the phone directory, listed under the name of the particular National Forest). You can also easily find their numbers on the internet, with just the name of the National Forest.
Camping will generally be cheaper than moteling, most places (exceptions are tourist hotspots like San Diego where private campgrounds may be all that is available and they can charge $35 per site per night.) With 4 splitting the cost, it might not be MUCH cheaper, relatively speaking.
However, there can be trade-offs to take advantage of the savings -- if you are camping, for example, you don't want to drive late into the evening, because it is much harder to find a place to camp in the dark. On days where you want to log extra miles, it is often better to just get a room somewhere at the end of the day.
Run a search on this site for "camp" or "camping" and you'll come up with lots of information that has already been posted on this topic. It comes up here frequently.
What states did you want to camp in?
If it's out west, I can help with some locations. I'm not as familar with the eastern US.