Boondocking is of course the cheapest of camping because it is generally free, although I am told some BLM land may have a small fee.
We currently own one for Texas and one for Minnesota for that very reason. The savings on our first Texas State Park stay paid for the pass. It actually came with four free nights of camping after you used it for a certain number of nights and at different parks. We have used it several times over the last year and our savings has been great.
Our Minnesota one paid off quickly because we have gone to see many things in Minnesota parks that have a per carload entry fee that is waived if you have the state park pass.
N I am not just talking about the ones as you cross the border into a new state. Seek out the Chamber of Commerce of any town you are visiting, even the very small ones, because often this is where the really good brochures on free or near free locations hide. Sometimes there won’t be an actual brochure, but a knowledgeable clerk behind the counter.
No Chamber of Commerce? Check the local grocery store. Yep the grocery store. In the tiny town of Lindsborg, KS I found a free standing display, like highway maps are often displayed in, that had all sorts of local information. If you read my posts on our stay at the campground near there you know we found much to do and can truthfully say it was one of our most interesting visits to an area.
Road Atlas often have points of interest listed before or after the maps Along with little snippets of history for the area.
Historical markers can lead you to do more investigating. An example of this is part of our visit to Chanute, KS. At a historical marker just before you enter town in a rest area we learned about the "Bloody Benders". This story prompted us to do more research.
We are huge Disney fans, as you probably already know. We have been to Disneyworld more times than we can remember, traveling from Oklahoma to do so. However, the last few visits have been different for us because of a series of young adult books by Ridley Pearson called Kingdom Keepers. I have reviewed a couple of these books on my “Outside a Dog” blog.
Mixed into these sci-fi books are behind the scenes glimpses of all the parks, cruise lines, night time spectaculars and more. Hidden doorways, how the tigers in the Animal Kingdom are safely fed, bits of park history and much more. Now we look for the things mentioned in the books to see if they are true or just used to add to the book. We have found many of the hidden doorways and other items as a result. These searches add to our enjoyment of the parks.
Traipsing through old cemeteries can be far more interesting than you might realize. While we do genealogy research we often find beautiful old cemeteries that we know none of our family is buried there, but we stop anyway, because of the history and beauty of the place.
As I type this, June 23, 2017, I think of the cemetery we drove through yesterday. Mt. Vernon, Cemetery near Atchinson, KS. A large beautiful cemetery with many old headstones, large tombstones and monuments on a hill with a great view.
You can learn a lot about the history of a town by reading dates. Things like whole families dying within days of each other in the 1800s generally meant an epidemic like typhoid. Mothers and babies dying close to each other generally meant a bad birthing.
Military, Masonic, Woodsman symbols as well as crosses and stars tell you about the person. Graveyards can be very interesting.
Don’t forget, even the famous generally get buried somewhere. Mt. Moriah Cemetery near Deadwood, SD is a prime example of that.
Did you know there is a circus performer cemetery in southern Oklahoma with unique tombstones. It is on our list to visit on one of our trips back home.
Or how about the pyramid shaped monument for the camel driver from the Calvary in the cemetery near Quartzite, AZ. Until visiting that cemetery just because we stumbled across it in our travels neither of us had given much thought to the camels and what happened to them, or even really thought about that part of our US history at all. That turned out to be quite educational. We have found many unique monuments in cemeteries across the nation.
We did historical re-enactments of the Fur Trade Era, pre 1840, for many years. So going to a Hudson Trade company historical site many years ago was great to us, and cheap.
In 2017 we have already visited both Jamestown and Historic Jamestowne, Yorktown and Newport News. All are blog posts waiting to be written and will be soon.
Libraries. I know the Tulsa City County library has a monthly newsletter they hand out that list all sorts of free classes, travelogs, book signings, and activities for children.
Our visit to Chanute, KS included a wonderful travelog and small museum right in the library.
The website Only in Your State has many interesting sites to visit on its pages. Campgrounds too.
We did eat at Ree Drummond’s, aka: Pioneer Woman, Mercantile. Delicious! The day we visited we saw her husband Ladd and were given a free ticket to go tour the lodge where most of her programs are filmed. That post will be in the near future as well.
Then of course there is always travelogs either on tv or dvd. Basically if it looks interesting we check it out.