Three amazing boondocking locations all crossed out with a red X.

3 Boondocking Locations That Have Been Ruined by the Internet

The internet can be an excellent resource for finding some of the best boondocking locations. Resources like Campendium, iOverlander, and FreeRoam make finding incredible spots to set up camp a breeze.

However, these internet resources have revealed some of the best-kept secrets in the boondocking community. Some could argue that they’ve ruined a few of the best locations.

Today, we’re looking at three boondocking spots ruined for other campers by the internet. Is your favorite place on our list? Let’s see!

Three amazing boondocking locations all crossed out with a red X.

What Is Boondocking?

Boondocking is a style of camping where RVers set up camp on public lands. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) oversees most of these areas.

Many of these camping locations are in remote portions of the country but provide much privacy and space for campers. However, boondocking isn’t for everyone.

These camping locations typically provide little to no amenities. You won’t have showers, restrooms, or trash receptacles.

Boondockers must be self-sufficient and leave no trace. Land abuse has led to restrictions regarding its use, especially for campers.

We could be seeing the end of boondocking, and here’s why.

What Is the Difference Between Boondocking and Camping?

Boondocking and camping are different. Boondocking means camping in an RV on public lands and having self-sufficient power, water, and waste disposal. 

However, camping describes various options. It usually involves staying in an established campground in a tent, RV, or cabin.

It typically means making reservations at a state park or private campground. These facilities often have running water, showers, and restroom facilities, and you’ll likely have neighbors.

A van boondocking in the desert with the sun setting behind the surrounding mountains, and no other campers around for miles.

How Long Can You Last Boondocking?

The amount of time you can last while boondocking will vary. Some RVers make large investments in battery banks and solar panels that allow them to run practically everything in an RV.

The main limiting factor is how long freshwater tanks last or having to dump the black tank. Some use portable waste totes and water bladders to transport waste and freshwater to and from their RV while boondocking.

Additionally, most boondocking locations have stay limits, which are usually a maximum of 14 days. However, stay limits vary by location, and some change seasonally. We’ve seen some places ranging from five to 21 days. Confirm the stay limits before getting too comfortable at a boondocking spot.

3 Boondocking Locations That Have Been Ruined by the Internet

We’ve boondocked in some incredible locations during our travels. Sadly, the internet has ruined some of our favorite spots. Here are a few boondocking spots we think were better before they went viral in the RV community. 

Nomad View (South Dakota)

A trendy boondocking spot called Nomad View is located just outside Badlands National Park. At this spot, you can set up on the edge of a 100-foot cliff and look right into the out-of-this-world landscapes that earned the Badlands its reputation.

Popular RVers Long Long Honeymoon shared their stay at Nomad View with over 80,000 viewers.

This is a popular spot for digital nomads because of multiple cell towers at the location, which result in high-speed and reliable internet connections.

Over the past several years, this site has become incredibly crowded. As more and more travelers see it pop up in their Instagram feeds and YouTube videos, they want to experience it for themselves. 

A trail through a field towards jagged rock formations in Badlands National Park.

However, the area can experience some rather intense winds and torrential rains. It has unpaved roads leading in and out of the camping area, and traffic after the rain has made it difficult to maneuver rigs.

This site used to offer a tremendous amount of space for campers, but those days are long gone. Expect plenty of neighbors no matter when you come.

Alabama Hills (California)

Despite what its name might lead you to believe, Alabama Hills lies near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This range of hills and rock formations falls under the Bureau of Land Management’s authority. The area has been the film location for many movies and is also popular for camping.

These campers were shocked to arrive at Alabama Hills and find excessive camping closures.

This location had easy access for practically any size rig. However, in 2021 BLM officials had enough of dealing with land abuse. Visitors were leaving trash, including human waste, and ruining the area. And many visitors had considerably overstayed their welcome. 

Officials took some serious measures by changing a significant portion to day-use only and requiring a permit system for those looking to camp.

Since much of this area requires high clearance to access it, it’s no longer what it was. Spots for larger rigs are extremely hard to find. This site has been ruined by the masses who found it on the internet.

Are there unsafe boondocking spots? Here’s what you need to know.

Magnolia Beach (Texas)

Located along the Gulf Coast of Texas is the beautiful Magnolia Beach. If you want to fall asleep to crashing waves, it doesn’t get much better than this. This large beach was once a relative secret, but not so much anymore. This once-secret boondocking site is anything but that.

Many RVers have contributed to the popularity of Magnolia beach by posting Youtube videos like this.

Local officials have had to create restrictions. Due to the lack of trash cans, campers must take their garbage with them, though many have not. However, some people are better than others at picking up after themselves. 

Additionally, the area can become very crowded, especially during the winter. Since not everyone has solar capabilities, many rely on noisy generators to power their rigs and have little concern for those around them.

How to Not Ruin Boondocking

Everyone is responsible for taking care of the public lands used for boondocking. Lands that continue to experience abuse will face restrictions or even closure. So here are a few things you can do to avoid ruining the experience.

Keep Your Favorite Spots Secret

If you have a favorite boondocking spot, you better keep it secret. When it starts popping up in Facebook groups and on resources like Campendium and iOverlander, it’s only a matter of time before it gets ruined. Remember, loose lips sink ships and can damage or close your favorite boondocking spots.

You want to guard the location of your favorite spots with everything you have. When posting pictures, ensure you don’t reveal too much information or share the location by tagging it. Only intelligent internet investigators might pinpoint the area and leak it to the rest of the world. 

Two van lifers cuddle in the back of their van on a secluded beach.

Leave No Trace

It’s everybody’s responsibility to clean up after themselves when boondocking. We’ve seen far too many boondocking spots littered with trash and debris from careless boondockers. Local authorities will often shut down camping or restrict the use of the land to day-use only.

Part of boondocking responsibly includes disposing of all trash and waste. You should keep your eyes out for anything you might leave behind when packing up. Don’t leave any gear or garbage.

Report Violators

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” is a well-known quote that can also describe how boondocking gets ruined. If you see someone doing something they shouldn’t, report it.

The agencies in charge of the land take violations of the rules and regulations very seriously. Those who fail to follow the rules must face the consequences.

While it may be tempting to confront violators yourself, resist the urge. You never know how someone might react, and you may put yourself in a dangerous situation.

Call the local authorities and let them handle it. Even if the violators get away, it’s better than putting yourself in harm’s way.

Be Respectful and Responsible While Boondocking

The internet isn’t the only thing ruining great camping locations. Boondocking will only remain available if everyone is respectful and responsible while enjoying it.

We have seen a trend of authorities closing boondocking locations across the country. Finding a boondocking spot will become more complex if things don’t change.

Has your favorite camping area gotten overcrowded?

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