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Old 08-23-2010, 12:39 PM   #1
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Escaping near urban areas

My wife and I are thinking about buying an Escape. We're curious -- if we occasionally need to stay near urban areas, are there decent options? Have any of you tried this?

Examples: we may have need to stay next year for 5-7 days in or very close to Duluth, MN and Youngstown, OH. We have a short trip coming to Ann Arbor, MI. And we're curious about even larger cities, like Chicago or Cleveland.

Options? Or would we end up at WalMart?

Thanks.

Dan
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:03 PM   #2
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcollison
My wife and I are thinking about buying an Escape. We're curious -- if we occasionally need to stay near urban areas, are there decent options? Have any of you tried this?

Examples: we may have need to stay next year for 5-7 days in or very close to Duluth, MN and Youngstown, OH. We have a short trip coming to Ann Arbor, MI. And we're curious about even larger cities, like Chicago or Cleveland.

Options? Or would we end up at WalMart?

Thanks.

Dan

Hi Dan,

There are almost always RV parks reasonably near larger cities. You mentioned Duluth, there is a beautiful MN State Park a short drive south of there - Jay Cooke. A Googlemap search will usually show RV parks in area. The Good Sam Club publishes a huge RV park guide that we buy every couple of years so it is current. It lists nearly every RV park in North America, gives them a rating and tells you their last year's costs per day.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:24 PM   #3
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

Welcome to the Escape Forum, glad to have you posting.

As a new Escape owner myself I am still refineing how to travel. So far I have planned trips using the internet for local attractions and then the link I have given below.

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/

The RV ParkReviews gives written opinions of other campers who have stayed at a campground. Like any review they can be subjective but the on-line interview form that one completes asks about bath rooms, pools, roads, security etc... Thus you get a some what organized approach to why someone liked or disliked a campground.

My guess is it does not always tell the best ones but I believe it does a good job of telling you what to avoid.

Most cities have something nearby, the larger the city the further you are going to have to travel from city center to camp. An example is Boston, there are three campgrounds in the area but the closest is 25 miles out. Land is too expensive to waste on camping. On the other hand San Diego has a campground 10 minutes from Mission Bay, it may be hard to get into but it is there.

A final feature of RV Parks Review is their display of nearby towns and cities and then the ability to search a little further afield to find a campground to your liking. I like it for the searching capability as much as the reviews.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:40 PM   #4
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

While there don't seem to be any campground reviews, this site allows you to reserve campsites easily.

http://www.reserveamerica.com/

We use it frequently.

Dave
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:32 PM   #5
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

One thing nice for us about the book edition of Good Sam's Trailer Life Directory is that we keep it in our tow vehicle whenever we travel. About the only time we stay at commercial RV parks is when we are on the road and consequently have no internet access. It allows us to take off in the direction we want to go and find places along the way for potential over night stops. That way we can sometimes go further than we thought we might or stop sooner if we are tired of driving. Their rating on cleanliness, etc tend to be pretty good in our experiences.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:52 PM   #6
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

Curious, do any of you just ... um ... pull off somewhere and camp? Whether it be city or country?

(As someone who made a fine art out of sleeping in my car -- and got booted out of a rest stop and elementary school parking lot or two roadtripping in my twenties -- I had to ask. )

And do I understand correctly that you're actually fairly free to do that on BLM land in the western US? Just pull over and camp?

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Old 08-23-2010, 03:59 PM   #7
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

We also use the Trailer Life directory and find it quite reliable. In fact, our experience with travel guides in general is quite satisfactory, whether camping or other sorts of travel, including international.

The one glaring exception to that is the "Frommer's Best RV & Tent Campgrounds" directory. It claims to be selective rather than inclusive, but we've run into a couple of real dogs, one of which (in the Oklahoma panhandle) was downright scary; could have been a movie set. No doubt, the info in the directory had been accurate at one time.

We usually have trouble letting go of travel directories, but when we started our camping trip to New Mexico and environs this summer, we cheerfully recycled the Frommer's.
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:09 PM   #8
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

Quote:
Originally Posted by medora
Curious, do any of you just ... um ... pull off somewhere and camp? Whether it be city or country?

(As someone who made a fine art out of sleeping in my car -- and got booted out of a rest stop and elementary school parking lot or two roadtripping in my twenties -- I had to ask. )

And do I understand correctly that you're actually fairly free to do that on BLM land in the western US? Just pull over and camp?

~e
Elizabeth,

Check our this site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Walmart-RVparking//

Most Walmarts let you overnight in the parking lots. Since we do not shop at Walmarts we don't do that - but I know lot of people do. I think there are some other chains that maybe allow that too, maybe some other Escapee's know. If not, try the fiberglassrv site - it has a much larger membership. National Forests allow "dispersed camping" - but check on the rules.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:29 PM   #9
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

Another source of free camping or near free camping is the below link.

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/

It seems in Wisconsin most of the casinos have free camping. Lots of small towns offer it as a tourist draw. I cannot vouch for the accuracy or reliability of the list and I believe there are other lists published on line. Here are a couple:

http://www.frugal-rv-travel.com/scenic-camping.html
http://www.eugenecarsey.com/camp/default.htm

There are a number of issues one faces if you choose to just "plop" down somewhere. First, would be legality, ie in Wisconsin you cannot camp in rest areas. Second, would to be sure you are not on private property and Third, would be security of the location you have choosen.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:54 PM   #10
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Re: Escaping near urban areas

Depending on the area you are in, there may be a National Forest somewhere near. To find out go to: http://www.forestcamping.com/
The Dow's have been to EVERY National Forest in the US, and documented each campground. It's free online, or you can buy their regional books.
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