Total newbie question on overlanding

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Nelson1214

Rank I
Member

Traveler I

233
Virginia
Just recently decided to get my 06 Hummer H3 in condition to do some weekend overland trips with the wife and dog. I'm in Virginia and looking later in the year to trip to Moab. For now some weekend trips to Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama etc. So what I've always wondered is how do you find those amazing camp sites by rivers, lakes etc where you can just park, camp, cook etc??
I've been using roadtrippers.com to plot trips and only get campgrounds and national or state parks etc. Is there a better resource I should be using to find those beautiful spots under the stars??

thanks in advance and mods, if this is the wrong place for this, please let me know and i'll repost
Nelson
 

Eric Neal

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,798
Atlanta, GA
Member #

8704

For us, much of the "inside" info comes from taking, or making, time to stop at local (read small and rural - not chain establishments) General Stores and/or fuel stops then casually inform the employees what you're doing, where you're from, etc. Then ask if there is any dispersed or remote camping in the area - and reinforce that you mostly shy away from established campgrounds. Also make the point, while you're spending some money in support of their business, that it's not a saving money, cheapskate issue but more about appreciating the local scenery and so forth. In other words let them get to know you and what you are about WHILE you're getting to know them and allowing them to tell you about their home area.

By slowing down and being approachable, the locals frequently LOVE to share. We've ended up in some splendid camp sites which aren't published in print or on the internet. But then in doing that you incur a responsibility to respectfully hold those hidden gems precious and not just broadcast the specifics all over the web so that everyone starts visiting and overwhelming the local's favorite, and often semi-private spots.

Such thoughtless, but often well intended, "sharing" can cause the locals to be reluctant to "give up" info and access to some of the most delightful camping spaces you'll ever visit.
 

Nelson1214

Rank I
Member

Traveler I

233
Virginia
For us, much of the "inside" info comes from taking, or making, time to stop at local (read small and rural - not chain establishments) General Stores and/or fuel stops then casually inform the employees what you're doing, where you're from, etc. Then ask if there is any dispersed or remote camping in the area - and reinforce that you mostly shy away from established campgrounds. Also make the point, while you're spending some money in support of their business, that it's not a saving money, cheapskate issue but more about appreciating the local scenery and so forth. In other words let them get to know you and what you are about WHILE you're getting to know them and allowing them to tell you about their home area.

By slowing down and being approachable, the locals frequently LOVE to share. We've ended up in some splendid camp sites which aren't published in print or on the internet. But then in doing that you incur a responsibility to respectfully hold those hidden gems precious and not just broadcast the specifics all over the web so that everyone starts visiting and overwhelming the local's favorite, and often semi-private spots.

Such thoughtless, but often well intended, "sharing" can cause the locals to be reluctant to "give up" info and access to some of the most delightful camping spaces you'll ever visit.
Dude, I appreciate the insight. Thanks so much
 

Eric Neal

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,798
Atlanta, GA
Member #

8704

You are most welcome, sorry for running on so much earlier - but its superbowl sunday and I got an "early start" LoL

The downside of my suggestion, if you're on the road engaged in a trip, is that you might not know where you're gonna spend the night! Yikes

If you're sort of anal-retentive this can be a stressful way to travel.

So having a back-up plan like a state park or a national park (fee) site - just-in-case nothing comes up.

In other words stay flexible. Many times just driving along a Forest Service (FS) road you may see a side road or what appears to be a poorly used side road - try it!

You may end up having to turn around or back out but "sometimes" you'll run across an old logging road which turns into a treasure.

We typically start trying this sort of thing about 2 hours before dark to find a campsite. Most times it works, but not always. So occassionally you spend the night in less favorable but not totally unacceptable conditions.
 
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Nelson1214

Rank I
Member

Traveler I

233
Virginia
You are most welcome, sorry for running on so much earlier - but its superbowl sunday and I got an "early start" LoL

The downside of my suggestion, if you're on the road engaged in a trip, is that you might not know where you're gonna spend the night! Yikes

If you're sort of anal-retentive this can be a stressful way to travel.

So having a back-up plan like a state park or a national park (fee) site - just-in-case nothing comes up.

In other words stay flexible. Many times just driving along a Forest Service (FS) road you may see a side road or what appears to be a poorly used side road - try it!

You may end up having to turn around or back out but "sometimes" you'll run across an old logging road which turns into a treasure.

We typically start trying this sort of thing about 2 hours before dark to find a campsite. Most times it works, but not always. So occassionally you spend the night in less favorable but not totally unacceptable conditions.
Perfect! Not against staying in less than perfect place. 12 years Army here so I can "camp" anywhere LOL
 

HEYElliott

Rank VI
Member

Influencer II

3,969
Markham, Ontario, Canada
Member #

9232

Local knowledge is probably the best source of information but some other options may include an app called iOverlander which gets populated by users like ourselves where information can be provided such as camp spots, showers, gas etc..

Other options may include navigation apps such as Gaia or Government websites that can provide information such as BLM land (I think thats the US term) In Canada its called Crown Land which can be found at the Crown Land Policy Use Atlas website.
 
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