The rumor is true: when done smartly and in accordance with regulations, you can take the practice of social distancing on the road. This is where the art of boondocking, a form of RV camping, saves the day. Boondocking is not like your average RV camping experience where your rig is parked 10 feet away from other people. Instead, RV boondocking is a secluded and isolated form of camping. Depending on where you choose to park, you can be miles away from the next person. This is what makes it the best dual-purpose escape from your four walls of home.
Open space, check. Fresh air, check. Sunlight and vitamin D, check. No other people, check. RV boondocking is an incredible experience— one that every RVer should try at least once. But now that we’ve sold you on the idea, how do you know where to look? There are many great online resources (like boondockerswelcome.com and harvesthosts.com) and a great many wonderful places to try your hand at boondocking throughout the country. Some of the very best places can be found along the west coast.
To aid your search, we’ve compiled a list of the best Pacific coast RV boondocking locations. Experienced boondockers may want to try all of them, but if you’re new, pick one or two to try. You might be surprised by how much fun you end up having!
Best Oceanside Spot
Cook’s Chasm in Yachats, Oregon
44.2789° N, 124.1171° W
Just look at these views in this video from Dustin Skye! Although it is just a simple pull-out on the side of the road, the scenery and ocean sounds available at this gorgeous RV boondocking location are absolutely incredible. In particular, seek out Thor’s Well, the unusual, spectacular sinkhole. Additionally, the summertime temperatures are very nice, ranging between 50°F and 75°F. The small town of Yachats has a tiny store available for essentials, and both a dump station and fresh water fill-up are available ten miles south at Washburne State Park.
Best Forested Spot
Campbell Tree Grove Campground, Olympic National Forest, Washington
47.4812° N, 123.6866° W
This absolutely gorgeous campground run by the National Forest Service is truly a gem. Campbell Tree Grove Campground is filled with enormous, 300-foot-tall trees that are about 500 years old. The pretty river running through the campground is the perfect touch, making the entire place feel like something out of a fairytale. This campground does have vault toilets (i.e. outhouses) available, but no running water or dump station, so be sure to come prepared.
Best Desert Spot
BLM Land South of Joshua Tree National Park, California
33.6701° N, 115.806° W
If warm, sunny days and beautiful, sprawling desert scenery are what you are looking for, we have found your place. Just a bit south of Joshua Tree State Park there is a parcel of land owned and maintained by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Because all BLM land is open to RV boondockers, this means you get to enjoy free camping with lovely scenery. This location is about 15 miles from the nearest grocery store, so make sure to stock up before you head out. That said, the relatively close national park does offer fresh water and a sanitary station should you need either.
Best City-View Spot
Vista Point at Golden Gate Bridge, California
37.8324° N, 122.4795° W
It is important to note here that California rest stops and pullouts limit vehicles to 8 hours in one location. This means that this particular location can only be used for a quick night of sleep. However, it is still well worth a stop. The Golden Gate Bridge is stunning from this particular angle, and the foghorns are positively haunting. Be sure to get some pictures before you hurry out in the morning to explore more of San Francisco! Obviously, this rest area does not offer any sort of amenities, but the location is close to the big city so finding some food and water shouldn’t be an issue.
Best Meadow Spot
Pretty Flowering Meadow in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
45.3221° N, 121.6356° W
At the Pretty Flowering Meadow area of Mount Hood National Forest, you’ll find amazing camping in the middle of a field of lupines. This secret spot is the perfect place to spend a week or two. The view of Mount Hood is stunning, and the local wildlife is lovely to watch. This is dispersed camping which means you won’t have any neighbors when staying here. It also means no amenities, so fill your tanks and your fridge before you head out.
Hit the Road
Maintain proper social distance etiquette by boondocking on BLM or other land. Most campsites are free, full of fresh air, and off the beaten path. These are just a few of the hundreds of beautiful and free wild RV boondocking spots on the west coast. For more awesome ideas, visit the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Websites. And you know where to find the perfect RV rental to take you there, right? (Thought so.)