This Is Why Campgrounds Are Better Than Boondocking

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A white dodge truck and Solitude RV sit parked in a campground with a beautiful sunset in the background.

As RVing and camping have become insanely popular in recent years, many look to boondocking to escape crowded RV parks. However, as much as we love the peace and quiet boondocking has to offer, it’s hard to compete with what campgrounds can provide. Today we’ll share why we think campgrounds are better than boondocking. Let’s get started!

What Is Boondocking?

Boondocking is when you’re camping on public lands. When boondocking, campers typically use lands managed by the United States Forestry Service and Bureau of Land Management. This is often free (or inexpensive) camping that can provide privacy and space to spread out and enjoy nature.

It’s important to note that you can’t set up camp permanently on these lands. There are typically stay limits that range from five to 14 days. You may need to get a permit before setting up camp to avoid fines or other issues with local agencies.

Are Campgrounds Better Than Boondocking? 

Boondocking may be a great way to escape crowded campgrounds, but it’s not for everyone.

Effective boondocking can take a tremendous amount of research and require more gear to ensure an enjoyable time for everyone. If you don’t have the equipment, it can create a miserable experience for everyone.

While boondocking can offer privacy from others, some prefer the sense of community and security a campground offers. While we may choose a particular camping style, it doesn’t mean that our neighbors feel the same way. There’s no right or wrong way to camp, and it’s important to remember that.

10 Reasons Campgrounds Beat Boondocking

Campgrounds offer several tremendous benefits that make the idea of boondocking sound ridiculous. Let’s take a look at why campgrounds beat boondocking.

1. Electricity

Most modern campgrounds offer electricity of some type. You may have to settle for a 30 amp site, but you’ll still have power running to your RV. Having power to your RV means not having to stress about if you’ll get enough sun to your solar panels to charge your RV batteries or if you have enough gas for your generator.

This can be especially true if you’re camping in warmer temperatures. You want to keep the AC running. However, if you don’t have enough solar power or run out of gas for your generator, you’re in for a sweaty experience.

A power station at a campground provides steady shore power, so no relying on generators or solar panels.

2. Potable Water Hookups

Boondocking often means scouting out a place to fill up your water tanks and then bringing it with you to your site. This can involve driving a considerable distance to access something as simple and necessary as freshwater.

It’s not uncommon for a campground to have water hookups at each site, or at least a place to fill up water tanks in the campground. It may not be as convenient as you’d like, but it beats potentially driving miles upon miles to get water while boondocking.

The more difficult it is to get water, the more important it will be to conserve water. This often means skipping or taking short showers, reducing how many dishes you use for meals, and bringing water designated only for drinking.

3. Sewer Hookups and Dump Stations

At some point, you’re going to need to empty your tanks. As with water, boondocking often requires that you scout out dump stations. Some of the best boondocking sites can be incredibly far from a dump station. This often means you can’t camp for as long or have to pack up camp to empty your tanks.

When you camp in a campground, you may have sewer hookups available at your campsite. If not, campgrounds will typically have dump stations. Not having to worry about where or how you’ll dump your tanks means you’ll have more time to enjoy camping.

An RV has full sewage hooked up at a campground.

4. Wi-Fi and Free Cable Hookups

If you need to stay connected while camping, some campgrounds offer Wi-Fi or even cable TV. When weather conditions don’t cooperate, and you have to go inside, you can stream your favorite TV show or tune into a live sporting event. Boondocking will require you to have a satellite dish and subscription or settle for the stations you can pick up on your TV antenna. 

5. Hot Showers and Flush Toilets

Love them or hate them, campgrounds offer hot showers and flush toilets. While boondocking you have to conserve water to make it last. While we don’t encourage wasting water, you can take a long hot shower and not worry about it at a campground.

A hot shower is making the bathroom steamy.

6. Planned Activities

Many campgrounds offer schedules of fun activities for individuals and families. Even if it’s not an activity you’re crazy about, it gives you a chance to meet your fellow campers and have a little fun. This could mean trying new activities that you would never have done otherwise. When you’re boondocking, you have to create or research your own fun. It doesn’t mean you can’t do fun activities, but it will require much more work to find and travel to them.

7. Pools and Hot Tubs

A pool or hot tub is a great way to cool off and relax if you’re camping during the summer months. You can bring your favorite pool toys and spend an entire day basking in the sun and splashing in the pool.

While some would argue that boondocking can provide lakes, rivers, and streams to swim in, there’s no guarantee of cleanliness. There are also wildlife and even parasites that live in the water. You need to be cautious if you swim while boondocking. And how can you resist a warm bubbly hot tub? Especially if you stay at one of these resorts with personal hot tubs at each campsite.

A woman soaks in a hot tub and relaxes.

Choosing a campground often will put you close to some of the best and most popular activities in an area. Even if you do have to travel, you won’t have to spend a ton of time going to and from the best activities the area has to offer. When you’re trying to rest and relax, you don’t want to spend your time going to and from an activity.

9. Neighbors to Meet and Other Kids for Your Kids to Play With

Parents often love campgrounds because it gives their kids a chance to play with other kids. Even kids who are strangers can instantly play together for hours like they’ve been best friends for years. Having other kids to play with means kids will spend less time on their electronics and more time outside. They’ll also burn off energy while out there running around. Everyone will get a better night’s sleep.

Parents grill and kids drink juice out of glass jars next to their RV near a river.

10. All the Amenities! 

Some campgrounds offer so many amenities that it makes you wonder why you would ever even consider boondocking. Between arcades, mini-golf, laundry rooms, free firewood, and even aquatic rentals, campgrounds offer so much to help your family have a great time.

For Some People, Campgrounds Beat Boondocking Any Day

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to camping. Some people are looking to completely disconnect from all technology and society in general. Others may be looking for a weekend filled with activities for everyone in their family.

No matter your camping style, what’s important is that you do what works for you. Make the most of every opportunity you have to camp in whatever style works for your situation. And while you’re enjoying your stay at a campground, don’t forget to follow the campground rules!

Do you prefer boondocking or camping in a campground?

  1. After spending the summer in campgrounds along the Oregon coast I can say without a doubt hands down Boondocking.

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