I decided to use a gallon of gas driving to and from a new sleep spot last nite.  I love the area.  It has tons of good places to park and in the morning I found that there are lots of good spots to park and prep (for more about my prepping, read here:  Also there are lots of open restaurants and coffee shops where I can use the restroom.  It’s even more upscale here than in my neighborhood but there are a lot of families here so that’s nice.

My second gift was, while I was prepping this morning and getting my van organized in a parking lot in my “new area”, I threw a couple of crumbs from the bottom of my van onto the pavement.  I don’t usually litter but I knew the birds would eat the crumbs.  Boy did they…they came over right away, one after the other.  I wasn’t expecting that!  They came so close too!  They are probably well trained and unafraid of people because of the nearby coffee shops.

When I was a child I was always in nature.  I lived next to some campgrounds and I was allowed to roam there at will.  I was a tomboy, a nature girl and my mom has a great photo of me somewhere hugging a tree.  Somehow all these years of adulthood, all these years of grinding away to make a home of some sort for my kids, made me forget how very much I love being outside.  I’m beginning to remember again, enjoy nature again and it’s making me so happy!

If I didn’t have a business that depended on me being in an urban area, I would camp out in the woods all the time.  Perhaps in the future I will be able to find other ways to earn money so I can do this.

Does anyone know of any campgrounds in Southern California that have  very cheap nightly rates?  I’ve looked a bit and in my area, and the sites are pretty expensive.


About Maureen, Living in a Van

I'm a free-sleeper living in a van in the prettiest part of the world. I do this partly due to financial circumstances and partly because I love a good adventure.
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9 Responses to Gifts

  1. B says:

    We generally camp in county campgrounds, which aren’t as expensive as, say, KOA. But they’re not cheap, either. It’s much cheaper if you get a non-hookup site.

    Do you have enough available hours to be a volunteer campground host? I believe it’s 20 hours’ of week working, and they provide you with utilities. If you need to be close to the urban area, that might rule out some of the more remote campgrounds.

  2. Maureen says:

    20 hours a week volunteering would be hard because I have to work for money and I need to stay close to the suburbs for now.

  3. Woof says:

    You can look for campgrounds in the national forests that have no fee – generally it’s best to look for a place with a restroom and drinking water. These are almost always day-use only, no camping overnight – but then at night you can drive up any nearby dirt road to a quiet, level spot, and stay until you want to go to the campground for water or restroom use. You can stay in one spot for up to 3 days.

    Google Maps: campgrounds near Cleveland National Forest

  4. Woof says:

    Sorry, that last line should be a link to Angleles National Forest:!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTSw8jAwjQL8h2VAQAng7kaQ!!/?ss=110501&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=FSE_003705&navid=110130000000000&pnavid=110000000000000&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ttype=activity&pname=Angeles%20National%20Forest-%20Camping%20&%20Cabins

  5. B says:

    Oh, I didn’t realize you were also looking for farther-out campgrounds. There are several National Forest campgrounds, and they’ll likely all be quite reasonable as far as fees go. You can explore here:
    San Diego County campgrounds are $20 for non-hookup sites – wow. I didn’t realize they’d gone up that far. 🙁
    Riverside County has “primitive” fees at $15 and “developed” at $22 – I can’t figure out what the difference is.
    Orange County is $20

  6. Charles says:

    Primitive is just that, grass and rock, developed, usually means level area, maybe paved, and a fire pit/ring or park type grill.

  7. Maureen says:

    I think I’m going to have to get out of California to get cheap or free spots. BLM land is free for 14 days.

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