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Old 01-11-2018, 09:02 PM   #1
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KOA question

I may become a full-timer in the near future. If I drive my MH, say from the west coast to the east coast and I would like to stop at night, where would be good places? I don't think I would stay more than two nights. I've heard of KOA, what is that? Are there other similar places? What about just pulling over on the side of the road somewhere and just sleep for 8 hours or so before continuing. Is that ok with local LEOs? I've also heard about Walmart. What's that about?
Sorry for dumb questions, but I have never done long-distance driving before.
Thanks in advance
EL
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:08 PM   #2
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Those venues all offer different amenities (or lack thereof). You are setting off on an adventure, so make it an adventure and try them all.

If you don't want to take a chance, stay at the KOA every night. They are all alike, just like McDonald's, so you will always know what to expect.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:13 PM   #3
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KOA has been referred to by many as an acronym for Keep On Adding. Usually nice parks with an extra charges. The Escapees RV Club has a splinter group called Days End which is an online list of places to dry camp throughout the US and Canada. The list is indexed by state and over 800 pages in length. Days End is what we use. We also like Elks Lodges, but you must be a member.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:42 PM   #4
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I think you'll find that there are many nice places to spend a night or two without paying the KOA prices. For a full-timer, join Escapees and Passport America. You can have both for under $100 and you'll find many places to stay very reasonably. Especially stay at one the Escapees Rainbow or Co-op parks for great deals and awesome, very friendly people in their parks. If you have any kind of problem an Escapee member is more than willing to help you out.

As you travel across the county, as a full-timer, you have all the time in the world to get there so you don't have to drive long days or put in long hours. Typically, you should plan on 300 miles or less/day. Arrive early to mid-afternoon and you'll still have time to relax before dinner or even do some local siteseeing. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to stay at Wal Marts/truck stops, etc. and have all those daylight hours waiting in a parking lot. Through the above-mentioned campground groups you can find very reasonable campsites and relax the rest of your day in quiet surroundings.

Through the Escapees RV Club you can also join Days End which gives many, many great places to boondock or very reasonable places to stay. It doesn't have to be a parking lot.

I think WalMarts and the like are good for those on a time schedule who put in long driving days and pull in at night needing only a place to sleep.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:50 PM   #5
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Take a look at Park Advisor you may find some great places at low or no cost if military Famcamps are great for over night or a couple of days
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:54 PM   #6
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Load the App "RV Parky, it's free and gives all the RV parks, Walmarts etc. that allow overnight stops along your route.
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:35 PM   #7
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X2 on the RVParky app. Also the book "Next Exit" or it's app can also be a tremendous aid when trying to find a place to spend the night. Some state are lenient and some are restrictive about staying in their rest areas.
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:14 AM   #8
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Thank you all, great info. I also have done some researching and found out that because I have the federal Golden Age Passport it can give me 50% off camping ground fees. I was not aware of that. Anyone have any experience with using the government camping grounds with or without the Passport? I'm not sure, but I would guess that federal camping sites are not very many, I don't know.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by EddieLo View Post
Thank you all, great info. I also have done some researching and found out that because I have the federal Golden Age Passport it can give me 50% off camping ground fees. I was not aware of that. Anyone have any experience with using the government camping grounds with or without the Passport? I'm not sure, but I would guess that federal camping sites are not very many, I don't know.
Your Golden Age Passport is an excellent cost-saver especially for full-timers. We used it all the time.

It's good for national parks, national forest campgrounds, national wildlife refugees (some allow camping), Corp of Engineers.

It lets you enter the parks free and gives 1/2 off on camp fees. If a site has electric you'll have to pay the electric portion.

Some campgrounds are run by concessioners and some folks say they don't give the 1/2 off. However, we've used many and were always given the 1/2 off.

Here's an excellent source of national forest service campgrounds. We love them!

https://www.forestcamping.com/dow/list/nflist.htm

Also, as you're traveling on secondary roads (highly recommended), look for city and county campgrounds. We've found some jewels! Stop at the local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor Center. They are great helps.

Keep in mind that you can boondock free on public lands - national forests and BLM lands. You don't have to stay in campgrounds. This is easily done in the western states as there is much more of this type of land and easily accessible for many areas for even the biggest RV. If you're driving near or through a national forest stop at a ranger station and ask.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:44 PM   #10
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For Federal camping go to Recreation.gov

For state camping go to ReserveAmerica.com
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:01 PM   #11
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in almost 4 years of traveling and over 80,000 miles, we've stayed at a 'KOA' only ONCE, and that was just recently, where there were no other options.

you'll find that none of 'our' advice may suit your needs, only you can and will determine how and what works best for you. Many folks can travel and just 'pull over' and be o.k., while some of us others have spouses that aren't into 'drycamping' in a parking lot. You'll also find that your needs for water, electricity, and dumping of 'stuff' will also play well into what you find yourself 'needing' during your travels.

Some stop at a rv park or campground every night. Some hardly ever do and choose to use their 'off grid' capabilities with their RV. Walmarts and any large parking lots are overnight points while traveling, and very useful, while rv parks come in handy when needing to refill and stay awhile. You'll find what works for you after about 3 days.
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:43 PM   #12
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We stay at Corps of Engineers parks and State Parks regularly. It does save money. We have never had to pay for electric. Always included. However a lot of them are off the main roads and convenient for a one night stop over. So when doing that we usually stay a a KOA or Good Sam camp ground.
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:56 PM   #13
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Hi EddieLo,
Consider getting the Good Sam Camp Ground Directory. Also consider joining Good Sam. A roadside assistance contract is some to consider getting. Good Sam or Coach Net sell these contracts. Pilot/Flying J has a discount program for Good Sam members. Good luck and welcome to the full timing world.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:21 PM   #14
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KOA.......Kampgrounds of America....
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