Car Camping in RV spots

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airborne_spoon

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I will be retiring next year (April 2023) and I don't have a house due to the insane prices they currently are. I had an opportunity to buy a house in 2015 but I didn't want to buy in North Carolina because I hate that place so I rented and that decision turned out to be a poor choice. There was a lot of overthinking and stupidity that went into me not buying and it is very much one of those hindsight is 20/20 things, but I digress.

I'll be starting college the spring semester of 2024 and I was thinking I'll take a year to travel around the country and just kinda hang out and enjoy the retired life. Also to add some more info I'm single with no kids and 1 beagle, and I'll be collecting a pension so I don't plan on getting a job.

I don't have an RV nor do I plan on buying one, but I love camping and I drive a Tesla and have done plenty of car camping in it already I figured <bleep> it I'll just do that. And I had some questions and an RV forum seems to be the best place to ask them.

Would people get pissed or annoyed at me taking up an RV site to camp with my Tesla and pitch a tent? I've heard most campground owners don't care since I'd be paying for an full RV site it's just another client to them. Since most campgrounds the tent sites don't have any power hookups I'd need to use a RV spot to use the 30A or 50A plug, (to which I've got proper adapters to charge from). I've pitched a tent in an RV site before but it was also occupied by my mom's RV at the time so I feel that was an ok thing to do.

Now yes I could use superchargers (DC fast charging) which I do a lot of already, I travel a lot and they are super awesome. But if I'm camping for a few days at a given area it's just a lot more convenient to having the car fully charged to 90% and ready to roll when I wake up in the morning. Instead of driving to the nearest charger and waiting 30 min to get enough juice to go to my hiking or fishing location for the day. Also during the summer its nicer to put the inflatable mattress in the car and turn the AC on all night while I sleep instead of sweating all night in a tent. But if I don't have a power hookup then that becomes a matter of how much juice the car has and how far the nearest supercharger is to determine if I can do that. And that's not something I really want to deal with.

And yeah I have a propane camp stove and a ice chest and I can make some damn good chow and I'm not concerned about food or cooking.

I'm not here to start any arguments over EV's vs ICE so please don't start that crap. I've had my car for 5 years and put 140k miles on it and I love it.

Also as far as reservations for campgrounds is there a good website like hotels.com except for campgrounds?

And what about discounts for various clubs and whatnot? Like I know AT&T has an Harley discount, a military discount, an Uber discount, and prob a few others I don't know about. What's the best club to join for the best rates at campgrounds?
Thanks.
 
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Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
This will depend on a number of factors, as many commercial campgrounds don't allow tents. You should be fine at most public campgrounds though, as they don't seem to care what you drive, though again some sites are RV ONLY, others are RV and TENT, usually intended to be AND, not OR tent.

As to reservations, many commercial rv parks are still using pen and paper reservations systems, which require you to call ahead to make reservations.
 

DonTom

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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
Would people get pissed or annoyed at me taking up an RV site to camp with my Tesla and pitch a tent?
It seems to me that most RV parks allow tent/car camping, sometimes tents a bit cheaper. Sometimes in a separate area where there is no electricity. It really depends on each place.

I assume you need electricity to keep your Tesla charged up.

But some RV parks are set up for RVs only. So, it depends on where. Here, I am in a federal park and tents are fine. But here there is no electricity or anything. I have been boon-docked here for a couple of weeks.

If in doubt, you will have to call each one individually and tell them exactly what you want to do, such as a tent site with a 14-50R.

-Don- Tom's Place, CA
 

airborne_spoon

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This will depend on a number of factors, as many commercial campgrounds don't allow tents. You should be fine at most public campgrounds though, as they don't seem to care what you drive, though again some sites are RV ONLY, others are RV and TENT, usually intended to be AND, not OR tent.

As to reservations, many commercial rv parks are still using pen and paper reservations systems, which require you to call ahead to make reservations.
Really in 2022 people haven't moved past calling up to book a reservation? That's crazy, I'm sure that's a million dollar idea to make a campsite.com or some **** like that to book a campsite.
It seems to me that most RV parks allow tent/car camping, sometimes tents a bit cheaper. Sometimes in a separate area where there is no electricity. It really depends on each place.

I assume you need electricity to keep your Tesla charged up.

But some RV parks are set up for RVs only. So, it depends on where. Here, I am in a federal park and tents are fine. But here there is no electricity or anything. I have been boon-docked here for a couple of weeks.

If in doubt, you will have to call each one individually and tell them exactly what you want to do, such as a tent site with a 14-50R.

-Don- Tom's Place, CA
Hey, toms place, I drive past there 2 times a month. I stop at bishop to charge while going along 395. But those trips are traveling to get from A to B not really leisure travel like I'll be doing when I retire.
And I can use anything from a TT30 to a 14-50 and many others to charge my car. I even use a 5-15 to charge right now at home. It's slow as **** but gets me more than enough juice for my 2 mile commute.
 
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CharlesinGA

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50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
A good many Federal and State campgrounds I have seen have standard 15 amp receptacles in tent only sites. It varies from place to place, like everything else in this world.

All I can say is if you go to reserve an RV/tent site and you have a number of choices, pick a shorter site that suits you, and don't pitch a tent in the middle of the only 60ft site in the campground. To me, that's simple courtesy, but I have seen it several times now.

Charles
 

DonTom

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Hey, toms place, I drive past there 2 times a month. I stop at bishop to charge while going along 395.
I also own a Tesla. A 2018 M3 AWD, LR. I also have a 2022 Chevy Bolt and three EV motorcycles, so I know all about EV charging.

I have my Zero DS electric motorcycle with me here.

I am in the French Camp. 0.8 miles from Tom's Place where I had dinner tonight.

2022 has gotten worse with RV reservations. More RVs on the road since the COVID thing. But as always, it depends on where and your luck. But more places are full then in past years. Weekends are especially tough without a reservation these days.

I do not like to make reservations. But it looks like I will have to most of the time from now on. Here at this federal park, reservations start on the day I leave, this Friday. It was first- come-first-serve for two weeks. It's above 7,000' elevation here and it has been very cold here lately. Not many here at all. When it starts to warm up, this place will be packed with people.

-Don- Tom's Place, CA
 

Isaac-1

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Really in 2022 people haven't moved past calling up to book a reservation? That's crazy, I'm sure that's a million dollar idea to make a campsite.com or some **** like that to book a campsite.
It is not so crazy when you consider that many RV parks are located in rural areas which still do not have high speed internet options (though this may be changing with Starlink, and the recent push towards rural internet since Covid started). Add to this the potential cost for small mom and pop RV parks, some of which don't even take credit cards due to the cost of the processing fees, etc.

Take a typical small mom and pop RV park with 10 to 25 RV sites in my region, their bread and butter customers are the longer term visitors, the weekly, and monthly guests. Their effective per daily rates work out at something like $35 nightly rate, $27 weekly rate, and $15 for monthly (though the monthly rate usually has electricity billed separate where the others have electricity included). Adding something like a 5-10% reservation processing fee, and a 5% credit card processing fee greatly cuts into the little profit margin such places operate on.
 

Ex-Calif

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You need to plan ahead. There are a lot of RV sites that advertise "self contained" units only.

For tent camping to occur there generally needs to be a wash house with toilets and showers so the tenters can relieve and wash themselves.

OTOH there are a ton of places that allow tent camping so it's not a big deal unless you book into the wrong place.

The first time I tent camped in Ohio it was a state park and I picked a spot on the website that I liked for location. I ended up between 2 30+ foot Class As with full front patios, slides, outdoor kitchens, satellite dishes etc. My wife and I felt a little stupid (out of place really) but had a good time anyway. There was a "corner" area where it was like 90% tenters but they all seemed to be in the know about where the tenters hung out.

Basically tenters could pick "anywhere" but there were about 12 sites that said "tents only" so the clue was there.

I fixed the problem the next time by buying a RV - LOL...
 

Larry N.

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Really in 2022 people haven't moved past calling up to book a reservation? That's crazy, I'm sure that's a million dollar idea to make a campsite.com or some **** like that to book a campsite.
Isaac has it right, there's nothing crazy about it, especially for the smaller campgrounds.

I stayed for 5 nights late last month at a KY campground that has 16 total sites, several of them pull throughs, at $35/night, cash or check only. The sites are 50 amp full hookups, but there are no showers or bathrooms there, just the sites with the hookups. The place is quiet, very well kept up and run by a very nice older couple who do all the work, but don't make a lot off of the campground.

Their reservations are phone only, and they only take reservations in advance for a single night (potential no shows), since there is no way for them to receive payment prior to your arrival, but they've been doing it this way for close to 40 years, and it works for them. They'd have to have quite a bit bigger campground and some employees and charge quite a bit more to do it as you think they should. They don't even have a website, though I found them on Allstays and there are many listing for them when you search the web.

And I've come across a number of others across the country in a similar situation.
 

NY_Dutch

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Where our wheels take us!
Really in 2022 people haven't moved past calling up to book a reservation? That's crazy, I'm sure that's a million dollar idea to make a campsite.com or some **** like that to book a campsite.
A couple of the overnight stops we make on our way south and back each year only accept phone reservations no more than 30 days ahead, and they only take cash or checks. These are parks that primarily cater to seasonal or year-round renters, with just a handful of sites for transients.
 

Utclmjmpr

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I have been seeing more "Casida" teardrop type small trailers lately at several campsites.. It would make more sense to work around that possibility than tenting, particularly when staying at one place for a few days..>>>Dan
 

Larry N.

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Yes, the Casita (Spanish for Little House) is a small, lightweight trailer:


And the little teardrop types (many, many available) are even smaller:

 

Utclmjmpr

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It would also qualify as a "hard sided" vehicle in those areas that require it..IE. Any where near Yellowstone..>>>Dan
 
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Skookum

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Dec 19, 2018
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@Viajeros owns a Tesla and pulls a small camper with it. *Paging Viajeros to the courtesy phone, please* (for any input on Tesla camping).

I agree that it's sometimes painful to work with certain RV parks and owners who insist on telephone and paper reservation systems. Some might have a website with a web form to request a date, and some purchase services to have online reservation systems that work marginally better than paper. The truth is, a lot of private RV parks are ma-and-pop shops and spending a bunch of money on an online reservation system (even though it would likely increase revenue!) might not be feasible. When you talk to these folks, you realize how much work owning/operating an RV park is and many of them have years of blood/sweat/tears invested. I don't mind calling and talking to someone. They're usually very friendly and accommodating. The old-world way still works very well, and it's very nice to use sometimes.
 

jymbee

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It is not so crazy when you consider that many RV parks are located in rural areas which still do not have high speed internet options...
What? Still some places in the US with NO Internet?! [END SARCASM]

Surprising how many folks like the OP here seem to assume that everyone has Internet and everyone is online. And yes, it's changing-- slowly-- as more rural residents have access but still a very long way to to.

We live in one of those rural areas. We just happen to have a line of sight to the nearest tower so we do have a cell signal. A mile down the road, nada. No signal. I don't know the exact stats but there are many homes around here with no cell signal and the ISPs don't have any incentive to run connections into areas where the ROI is limited.

Hopefully some of the government backed programs where funds are provided will help.
 

Viajeros

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I will be retiring next year (April 2023) and I don't have a house due to the insane prices they currently are. I had an opportunity to buy a house in 2015 but I didn't want to buy in North Carolina because I hate that place so I rented and that decision turned out to be a poor choice. There was a lot of overthinking and stupidity that went into me not buying and it is very much one of those hindsight is 20/20 things, but I digress.

I'll be starting college the spring semester of 2024 and I was thinking I'll take a year to travel around the country and just kinda hang out and enjoy the retired life. Also to add some more info I'm single with no kids and 1 beagle, and I'll be collecting a pension so I don't plan on getting a job.

I don't have an RV nor do I plan on buying one, but I love camping and I drive a Tesla and have done plenty of car camping in it already I figured <bleep> it I'll just do that. And I had some questions and an RV forum seems to be the best place to ask them.

Would people get pissed or annoyed at me taking up an RV site to camp with my Tesla and pitch a tent? I've heard most campground owners don't care since I'd be paying for an full RV site it's just another client to them. Since most campgrounds the tent sites don't have any power hookups I'd need to use a RV spot to use the 30A or 50A plug, (to which I've got proper adapters to charge from). I've pitched a tent in an RV site before but it was also occupied by my mom's RV at the time so I feel that was an ok thing to do.

Now yes I could use superchargers (DC fast charging) which I do a lot of already, I travel a lot and they are super awesome. But if I'm camping for a few days at a given area it's just a lot more convenient to having the car fully charged to 90% and ready to roll when I wake up in the morning. Instead of driving to the nearest charger and waiting 30 min to get enough juice to go to my hiking or fishing location for the day. Also during the summer its nicer to put the inflatable mattress in the car and turn the AC on all night while I sleep instead of sweating all night in a tent. But if I don't have a power hookup then that becomes a matter of how much juice the car has and how far the nearest supercharger is to determine if I can do that. And that's not something I really want to deal with.

And yeah I have a propane camp stove and a ice chest and I can make some damn good chow and I'm not concerned about food or cooking.

I'm not here to start any arguments over EV's vs ICE so please don't start that crap. I've had my car for 5 years and put 140k miles on it and I love it.

Also as far as reservations for campgrounds is there a good website like hotels.com except for campgrounds?

And what about discounts for various clubs and whatnot? Like I know AT&T has an Harley discount, a military discount, an Uber discount, and prob a few others I don't know about. What's the best club to join for the best rates at campgrounds?
Thanks.
We haven’t car camped in our Tesla but pull a small teardrop behind it. As long as the campground owner or operator doesn’t care I don’t think you’ll have any problem car or tent camping in an RV spot.

We charge at camp sites but as much as possible ask the operator to make sure it’s ok. So far the only restriction we have run across is that they don’t want more than one thing plugged into a pedestal at one time which will be no problem for you. There might be a charge. Some do and some don’t.

You might look at pulling a small motorcycle trailer behind you Tesla. The only downside is the speed limitations that come with towing. Might make the trips a little more “boring”. 😊

Hope it works out for you. Whatever you do, be safe and have fun.

Here is the obligatory pic of our combo. 😊

3696598E-C6AF-4E2C-87FB-F448789B8708.jpeg
 

airborne_spoon

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USA, California
What? Still some places in the US with NO Internet?! [END SARCASM]

Surprising how many folks like the OP here seem to assume that everyone has Internet and everyone is online. And yes, it's changing-- slowly-- as more rural residents have access but still a very long way to to.
Yes i know there are places without proper internet and ****. Hell there are a crapload of folks that still use 58k modems and dialup internet.

Anyway thanks everyone for the suggestions and insight.
 
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