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Boondockers Welcome: Camp in the RV Community’s Backyard

Have you heard of Boondockers Welcome? This membership program connects private property owners with RVers who need a place to stay. Instead of parking in a campground, you park at someone’s private residence or business. We love what Boondockers Welcome offers, so today, we’re sharing more about it. Let’s dive in!

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Boondockers Welcome: RV Parking at People’s Homes

Boondockers Welcome is safe, legal, and free overnight RV parking on fellow RVers’ properties. When we say “free,” we mean there’s (usually) no overnight parking fee. There is a small annual membership fee to participate in Boondockers Welcome. Members are encouraged to pay a small amount if they use full hookups that are available at some host locations.

There are two memberships. In one, you are a “host” and can offer property for use, and in the other, you use other people’s properties. There are over 3,500 locations, and new hosts add more all the time as they join the program.

Connecting with members is convenient through their online portal or app. We’ve booked as far as a few weeks in advance to a day. These are real people being friendly neighbors to RVers who need a place to stay.

Who Owns Boondockers Welcome?

In May 2021, Harvest Hosts purchased Boondockers Welcome. Since then, the two companies have shared the same platform. You can purchase an individual membership or one that includes Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. It gives you access to thousands of campsites.

The main difference between the two membership programs is the types of properties. Harvest Hosts has more than 5,000 locations, including wineries, farms, museums, and small businesses. Boondockers Welcome gives you access to private properties.

What Are the Boondockers Welcome Campsites Like?

There are over 3,500 Boondockers Welcome locations in North America. You’ll find options off the interstate and in more secluded areas. You might park in the driveway or the yard, and you can read about the specifics in each profile.

For example, the hosts of “Petersen Place” in Iowa share, “We have a large circle drive and parking is on the gravel south drive by the orange cones. Electric is on the light pole.” The hosts of “Quenga Farm” in Arizona write, “Our main spot has 50/30/15 amp electric and access to well water. It is situated between our main home and guest house.”

We love that so many of the hosts offer electricity or water for guests! Around 75% of hosts offer at least one of these amenities. You can even filter results to show only hosts that provide these hookups. This is another significant difference between Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. Most Harvest Hosts locations won’t have amenities.

Some hosts may allow pets, generators, and outdoor cooking. Hosts have “House Rules” relating to smoking, generator use, trash, children, pets, and other stipulations.

Each host also displays the maximum rig length. Don’t request a stay if you’re over the RV length limit. Hosts may restrict rig size because of the drive or if there’s nowhere to turn around once you exit. Host notes often mention low-hanging limbs, narrow bridges, or other problems RVers may encounter.

The site generalizes site locations for member security. You won’t know the address until after someone accepts your stay request. However, you can still learn about the host and area. 

We highly recommend reading reviews and paying special attention to site accessibility. We also remind RVers to leave a review to help other travelers make the best decision.

Pro Tip: Get more bang for your buck by discovering what are the Best RV Memberships for Saving Money on Camping

Why We Love Boondockers Welcome

We mostly use Boondockers Welcome spots as a single overnight stop, replacing the need to stay at a Walmart, a Cracker Barrel, or a rest stop. It’s preferable for several reasons: it’s generally quieter, we can put out slides or awnings, and we usually have some pretty good conversations with interesting people.

Hosts will also list the maximum number of nights you can stay. We’ve stayed multiple nights before and even have had property owners try to persuade us to stay longer! Many hosts love the company and sharing stories. We’ve discovered that many hosts are also RVers themselves.

It isn’t uncommon for hosts to offer help if you’re in a bind. In Montana, we had a Boondockers Welcome host offer to let us use his tools and big work garage to rebuild the front end of our Ram 3500 truck.

Once we’ve visited a place, we’re often invited to come back whenever we want–even if the property owners aren’t around. We love the friendly, welcoming community of Booondockers Welcome!

boondockers welcome campsite in montana
Boondockers Welcome offers convenient campsites across the US.

What Are Cons of Boondockers Welcome?

While we think the pros far outweigh the cons, Boondockers Welcome might not be the correct fit if you have a different travel style.

  1. Location Availability – if you prefer the convenience of pulling into a Cracker Barrel less than a mile off the interstate, you likely won’t find Boondockers Welcome locations with that proximity.
  2. Accessibility, especially with big RVs – These sites are people’s homes, so you’ll drive down subdivisions, through city streets, and along more challenging roads. If you’re new to RVing and don’t feel as confident in your driving skills, you might want to skip requesting a Boondockers Welcome site. While most locations are easy to navigate, they certainly won’t be as straightforward as a casino parking lot off the highway.
  3. Socialization – This membership is also grounded in community. If you’re uncomfortable socializing with new people or being a visitor in a stranger’s backyard, you may not enjoy this membership as much.
  4. Boondocking Without Hookups – while some places have hookups, this isn’t the rule.

How to Find Boondockers Welcome Campsites

The interactive map and filters allow you to search for a Boondockers Welcome location that’s right for you. Move the map to the area you’ll be visiting. You’ll notice blue circles with numbers on the map. As you zoom in, these blue dots become individual locations. For example, say there’s a blue circle with the number six near Las Vegas. That means six Boondockers Welcome locations will appear as blue houses when you zoom in.

You can click on a house to read a short profile that includes the maximum stay limit and rig size. When you click on the profile, it redirects you to the host’s description. You’ll see under “Suitability” things like “Pets Welcome” or “Water Hookup.” Read the “House Rules” and “Location & Directions” to determine if it’s a good fit.

Click on “Check Availability” and you’ll see a pop-up calendar. Choose the dates you’d like to stay. You can’t request dates that are grayed out or have a strike-through mark. If your dates are available, select them and click “Choose Dates.” Then fill out the stay request form and submit it.

We usually receive a confirmation from the host within 24 hours. Each host provides information about how to check in and their expectations. Some will ask you to call upon arrival, while others give parking instructions. Overall, the Boondockers Welcome website and app are convenient platforms to navigate and secure your request.

Pro Tip: Check out The Coolest Wineries For Camping in Each State that you can stay at with a Harvest Host membership.

How Much Is a Boondockers Welcome Membership?

A Boondockers Welcome membership costs around $79/year. Combined with a Harvest Hosts membership, the two cost approximately $169/year. The combined membership gives you access to over 8,600 locations.

Some hosts request a fee to use the electric or water hookup. We’ve paid from $5-20 for these amenities.

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Is Boondockers Welcome Worth It?

Campsites can cost from $35-50 on average. This means you’ll pay for a Boondockers Welcome annual membership after two stays. If you combine it with a Harvest Hosts membership, you can pay for the membership after about four or five stays. Having access to thousands of locations across the U.S. and Canada gives us many options for an overnight stay. If we want to explore an area longer, we ask the host!

We think a Boondockers Welcome membership is worth it. You can meet some amazing people who are so hospitable and helpful. Hosts will give you tips about nearby places to visit or eat. You might even have a gift waiting for you when you arrive. It’s a fantastic community of RVers!

Are there any Boondockers Welcome locations near your next destination? Tell us in the comments!

Interested in Joining?

If you are interested in joining this network, check them out here!

Join Boondockers Welcome

boondockers welcome

​We are a part of their affiliate program, so we get a small commission for anyone who signs up through this link. We appreciate your support!

This post is a review of Boondockers Welcome. All opinions are our own from our experience since being a member since October 2015.

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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