Boondocking Guide to Arizona
Getting Off the Grid and into the Wild World of Full-Time Camping
" A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving " - (Lao Tzu)
This blog is our personal space – so, that means it's our personal experience and our personal opinions. We are simply full time builders, dreamers, movers and nomads who designed and continue to work on and improve our own cutting edge tiny mobile home. We are sharing our independent research & projects… because, well, we like to! These blog posts are our gift to you and we frankly have no interest in convincing anyone to follow this path. Just here to help and share
When We First Started
I remember being struck with panic, after driving for a few hours, realizing we were going to have to find somewhere to park this thing to sleep tonight 😳
"How could I have thought, day dreamed, mapped, planned and prepared so hard, but not consider the most important piece of the #Nomad lifestyle?! Parking. "
I started googling campsites and KOA's nearby. Suddenly I was so overwhelmed with the reality of our situation. "Was this lifestyle really going to be cheaper living? Was is even going to be doable, when the average KOA cost is upwards of $40 a night?!" This was my "nomad breakdown" (You'll have a few your first couple months.)
If you're reading this and thinking to yourself "how could you not think about parking?" I know, I know. Looking back, its so obvious. But if you read our very first blog post, you'll remember what a shit show just getting out of Richmond was....and honestly, there was just no space left in my brain to think about life past the state line. I even remember answering constant questions about the future, with a heavy sigh and saying "I don't know. We're just going to figure it out as we go." Welllll figure it out we did.
First, you don't need to have a plan. In fact, scratch that.
Don't have a plan.
That is the single greatest thing about the nomad, #FullTimeCamper lifestyle.
Having the mindset of "just go with it". Put your place in that head space. Know it. Feel it.
Embrace it. Second, "Better to ask for forgiveness than permission." You should know, this is Kourtney writing this particular post, Trevor is definitely the "rule follower" between the two of us. However, even Trev would now, having been on the road for 5 months, agree that this perspective on parking,
Listen, what's the worst that can happen? Someone knocks on your camper door and asks you to leave where you're parked?
Okay--? So, start 'er up and move to the next spot.
Most of the time, this won't happen. It's completely in your mind that people care that much about where you are parked for all of (mostly) one night. People for the most part either won't notice you (or in our case, notice you, look and move on.
Occasionally, yes, there is that once in a blue moon asshole who will knock and tell you that you "can't park here." Don't get mad. He/she takes their job WAY too seriously and is jealous of your freedom. Count it as your next adventure and move on. Here is a list of some excellent #AZBoondocking spots that we used or visited quite a few times, that are either Free, have great staff, cheap or a place you simply have to check out:
Grand Falls (which is taller than Niagara Falls and is nick-named "The chocolate waterfall") is a natural waterfall system located 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona in the Painted Desert on the Navajo Nation
This was SO worth it and such a rare find. The road leading out to the Falls is pretty rough (to say the least) do your research and be prepared for a bumpy ride.
*Important to Note * The falls are fed by the snow melt and rain from the White Mountains and flows into the Little Colorado river. For this reason there are only specific times of year that the waterfalls are actually flowing. The best time to see the falls are during March and April.
Bass Pro Shop
We LOVE you #BassProShop (1133 N Dobson Rd, Mesa, AZ 85201) Listen, this is just smart #boondocking Bass Pro shop was such an amazing "pop-in" spot for us whenever we had work near Phoenix or Scottsdale. This particular BassPro, which is located in a convenient shopping center with tons of shopping and restaurants around, was so sweet and accommodating, they allow nomads/campers to camp in their spacious parking lot for a few days, no problem. We also have met most of our "road buddies" from this parking lot. Highly recommend this spot for a passing through boondock.
*Important to Note* Don't be those people. Don't overstay your welcome, dump your grey tank in the parkinglot or leave trash and ruin for the rest of us. Be a gracious guest as they are a gracious host, so that BasPro will continue to allow us nomads to rest our heads for a night or two.
Kelley Family Car Wash
Kelley Family Car Wash this spot is on our list because we ended up using it more than we planned. It's perfect for the nomad life for a few reasons: - $10 #DumpAndFill station - Convenient location - Cheap RV Wash big enough for #Wazimu
#Sedona is huge, quiet, beautiful and a #Arizona must see for full time campers. It is always thriving with plenty of BLM land for parking Trev and I parked in the desert for 10 long, glorious days. We put Wazi to the test and parked in a spot that was very secluded from other camper sites.
Lake Pleasant is a #BeautifulPark that covers a total of over 23,000 acres of desert and is surrounded by beautiful, clear fresh water. We stayed here for about 4 days, splashing around with the boys and camping. The weather was perfect. Warm sun on your shoulders, cool breeze off the lake throughout the day.
It was quiet and well...pleasant.
Appropriately priced at:
Per Vehicle: $7/day Individual
And I believe $15 for daily/overnight RV parking
Normally I don't recommend KOA's, as they are expensive, over saturated and well....kind of cheating if you're doing this lifestyle full time and truly calling yourself a "nomad". However! The #FlagStaffKOA is magic. They have TeePees you can camp in! TEEPEES people!! The only thing cooler to sleep in at a KOA than Wazimu is a #TeePee
FlagstaffKOA also happens to have the most fabulous staff and very cheap Dump + Fill ($10 but if you keep you receipt they basically never charge you to dump and fill after your first time)
as well as a few beautiful hiking trails right off the campsites that the pups enjoyed. Overall Flagstaff is like a mini Colorado. The air is so clean and brisk and the community seems so friendly and accommodating to travelers *It should be noted that it was, however, on the pricey side at $50 a night for a pull through, full hookup, campsite.*
If you don't have one, GET ONE! Planet fitness, after nature, will be your very best friend on the road. At only $10 a month (or $20 Black Card with lots of perks, including a free guest every time) #PlanetFitness are everywhere! Stay in shape and take a hot shower just about anywhere. Also, they are a 24/7 gym, so we have often just slept in the parking lot with no problems. The only place we couldn't find one, besides the obvious off the grid/ desert locations, was Flagstaff. Trust me, you need this.
If all else fails you, the following are all great backups, -Truck Stops -Walmarts -Cracker Barrel
-Anywhere quiet, tucked in the back. Remember, you will usually be way more paranoid then necessary.
Helpful #BoondockingApps: - Boondocking -On the Road -The great outdoors Remember, Your experiences are the only possession that nobody can take away from you. If you get kicked out or yelled at or have a rough go of it, I promise you'll laugh about that story in no time at all. Parking can be extremely overwhelming when you first start out, but give yourself some time for your mentality to shift a bit to the lifestyle. In no time at all, it will come second nature to you and you won't stress about it at all. Happy Camping you Beautiful WeirdO's!